Why You Should Never Ask A Buyer What They Want

I’m looking to do the audio version of my new book Not Taught.  As I was calling around, the owner of one of the studios began to ask me a lot of questions.

She asked, “How many hours do you need?”

I said, “I don’t know.”

She asked if I wanted to read and record the forward.

I said, “I don’t know.”

She asked me how fast I read.

I said, “I don’t know.”

She asked me if how long I wanted to record in a sitting.

I said, “I don’t know.”

The sales women, who happened to be the owner as well, kept asking me what I wanted, and I didn’t know.

I hated it.

Here’s the problem, when we ask our buyers what they want, it assumes they know what they want and that what they want, is accurate. These are dangerous assumptions.

Don’t ask your buyers what they want. Instead, ask them what they are looking to do.

When we ask buyers what they want, we’re giving control of the sale away. We’re making the customer do our job. Sales is not about order taking. You’re not a waiter or waitress. It’s our job to help them solve a problem and deliver on their goals.  Selling can’t be done by asking customers what they want.

Instead, ask your buyer what they are trying to accomplish.

Let’s flip this script.

Imagine if the owner of this recording studio started with questions like this.

  • Tell me what you’re trying to do.
  • Has your book been published yet?
  • Where are you currently selling it?
    • Is it on Amazon?
  • Why do want to do an audio book?
  • How long is the book, how many words/pages?
  • What type of book is it?
  • What is it about?
  • How’s it selling right now?
  • What are your thoughts on doing the voice over, you or a professional? Why?
  • Have you ever read in a studio before?
  • Would you do me a favor and read for me?
    • Could you read a paragraph from the book, any paragraph will work?

By asking these types of questions, the owner would have a much better understanding of how she could HELP me achieve my goals and objectives. She would have positioned herself as an order maker, not an order taker. It would have allowed her to make recommendations to the questions she had asked earlier, based on my answers. She could have recommended the number of hours I needed, based on hearing me read and the style of the book. She could have let me know if using a professional voice over person would be a better option and why. She could have suggested if it would have been helpful to read the foreword. She could have consulted me rather than trying to take my order.

Don’t ask people what they want. Ask them what they are trying to do and why.

Once you understand what your buyer is trying to accomplish, you’ll know what they want and more importantly, what they need.