Questions – Keep a Couple in Your Pocket

My dad had a lot of little sayings that had far greater meanings than just the few words spoken. Things like, “Can’t never could do anything”, “Do as I say, not as I do”, “Believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear”, and this one, “It’s best to keep a couple in your pocket”.

I think the saying “keep a couple in your pocket” originally meant to always keep a couple of coins or dollars on you, and more than once it referenced keeping a few pieces of candy for later in the day! But I also recall him saying, “You don’t need to tell them everything up front. Hold back some of your questions, thoughts, and knowledge for a more appropriate time. Sometimes, timing is everything”.

Others might say something like, “hold your cards close to your chest/vest” or “don’t show all your cards until it’s time to play”.

Regardless of how you express it, using this wisdom in sales at the appropriate time can have a powerful impact.

One of the areas in which I used this wisdom was when conducting CNAs. I would ask all of the normal questions, but, in many cases, I would intentionally hold back two or three questions. Then, at the end of the meeting, I would say to the prospect, “We’ll go back to the office, prepare our ideas and put our recommendations together for you. In the meantime, if I have a few additional questions, do you mind if I call you or set up another appointment to discuss?”

In addition to asking better and deeper questions upfront, this is where we start to separate ourselves from our competition. In a few days or a week, we would call the prospect back and either ask the questions or set up another appointment. I would say something like, “Mr./Mrs. Prospect, I believe we have some really good ideas put together for you, but I do have a few additional questions before preparing our final suggestions. Do you have 10-15 minutes to sit down and discuss?”, or if they don’t have time to meet face-to-face, ask them, “Do you have time to answer a few questions?”

The reason, and goal, for doing this is that subconsciously, we are going above and beyond what other media reps might be doing by putting additional thought into their business, and going the extra mile by thinking the process completely through.

This little tactic is not necessarily a game-changer. You’ll still need to have a great idea, but by keeping a “couple of questions in your pockets” and asking them at an appropriate time, you can certainly capture their attention enough to help position yourself differently from your competitors!

…and in the case of candy, you will never be disappointed that you kept a couple in your pocket!