What Are They Really Saying?

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This is a guest post by Marvin Montgomery, The Sales Doctor.

Last week I overheard Marvin Jr. complaining to his mother that his stomach was hurting. My wife immediately assumed that he has sick. I quickly interjected a question: “What’s wrong with your stomach son?” He turned to me and said he had been doing sit-ups and his stomach was sore.

How many times do our suspects, prospects or existing customers make general statements and we fail to take the time to ask a clarifying question? Instead, we just assume. What are they really saying to you when they reply with the following statements?

•Let me think about it.

•I need to speak with my boss.

•Your price is too high.

•I need to get other estimates.

•I’m 95 percent sure that I will go with you.

•I will call you back in a couple of weeks.

•Can you give me a quote on this?

The only way you’ll really know what they meant, is by asking some clarifying questions. Remember that people seldom identify their true needs directly. It’s our job to ask ourselves, “What are they really saying?” and stop assuming.

MARVIN MONTGOMERY is an author, speaker and sales training consultant with more than 30 years of experience. You can ask the Sales Doctor a question at

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