Have you ever been in an internal meeting and asked 'why do we do that?', only to receive the response 'because we have always done it that way'? Have you ever heard a prospect say the same thing in response to one of your fact find questions?
In my opinion, this is a very dangerous response. In fact, Forbes call this the most dangerous phrase in business!
More importantly, it often presents a great opportunity for improvement and could result in an excellent sales opportunity. Here's is a story to illustrate why:
Grandma says, “Because we have always done it that way!”
A young girl was helping her mom cook dinner. The mom proceeded to cut the ends off the roast and then placed it in the pan. 'Mom, why did you cut the ends off the roast?' 'I am not really sure, dear.' said the mom. 'I saw my mother do it all the time, and now, so do I. We've just always done it that way. Perhaps you should ask Grandma.'
The next time the girl visited her grandmother she asked, 'Grandma, Mom said that you cut the ends off a roast before you placed it in the pan. Why did you do that?' 'I am not really sure.' replied the grandmother. 'I saw my mother do it and so I did it the same way. I also taught your mother to do it. I've just always done it that way. Perhaps you should go ask Great Grandma.'
The first chance she got, the young girl asked her great grandmother, 'Great Grandma, why did you cut the ends off a roast before you put it in the pan?' 'It's quite simple.' replied the elder. 'Once when I was cooking dinner, the roast was too big. I cut off the ends so it would fit in the pan.'
Imagine, all those years of throwing out the ends of the roast, generation after generation, only because once it was too big for the pan. What a waste! If someone over the years had taken the time to ask, they would have quickly discovered this was a simple problem that could easily be fixed by simply buying a bigger pan.
Regularly Reviewing Company Processes and Procedures Creates Opportunity
The lesson is clear. The next time you hear 'because we have always done it that way' you need to find out why.
If someone in your own company said it, chances are there is a better way of doing things. If it's a prospect who said it, you have probably uncovered an excellent sales opportunity to solve a problem the prospect didn't even know he had.
Just like the young girl in the story, you need to dig deeper, peel back the layers, and find out the real reason you have always done it that way. Is the reason valid, or are you just cutting the ends off your roasts?
Sample Fact Find Questions to Win More Sales Faster
A Real Life Business Example
Let me give you another real life business example. Early in my management career, I had a meeting with a service technician, Joe, who newly reported to me. I asked him what I could do to make his life easier. Without a moment’s hesitation, he said reduce the paperwork required after he completed each service call. I asked him what he did with the forms after he completed them, and told him to leave it with me.
After the meeting I picked up the phone and followed the paper trail. No word of a lie, the forms touched five different pair of hands, with each person literally just passing it on to the next without even reviewing it. Each person I talked to, I would ask “What do you do with the forms that Joe sends in?” And each time I would get the same response. “Nothing. I just have always forwarded them to so-and-so.” Then I’d ask, “Why do you do that?” The response was always the same. “I don’t know. We just have always done it that way.”
Finally, I got to the end of the paper trail, the last person in line to touch the forms. “Sam, what do you do with the forms that Joe sends in?” I asked. To which Sam responded, “I don’t need them so I just throw them out.” Seriously.
Questioning the Status Quo Yielded Big Gains
Needless to say, Joe the service technician was pretty happy when I told him he could just stop sending the reports. If anyone complained, we would have started to send them again, but since no one missed them, no one complained.
I, as the new manager, was also very happy. Not only did I now have a more productive employee, but we also saved a lot of money by not wasting all that paper any more, therefore directly adding to my bottom line.
Because we have always done it that way! – The Bottom Line
The moral of the story is simple. Reviewing internal processes, either yours or your prospects can create tremendous opportunities.
After all as Henry Ford once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” More motivational quotes here.
“… what I can tell anyone, is simply this – If you want to learn and understand sales, talk to Susan.”
Are you still using the same old school sales techniques to generate prospects for your business? Are you cutting off the ends of your “lead generation” roast?
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