Selling is a lot like the game of Clue

Remember the game Clue from years past? The three essential assets are rooms, resources and people with one set sealed in an envelope for you to figure out. Now, I do think a lot of the game is based on guessing and sometimes salespeople need to start the sales process by guessing, but repeating the same guess and not using a process of eliminations is not going to make your chances of winning increase. Here are the connections to the game of Clue and our game of selling.

There is a who dunit

Every sale has a primary decision making. Even committees have a leader. Someone has stuck their neck out to reveal a challenge that needs to be fixed or someone has a proposed solution they have committed to securing. Sometimes the decisions are made locally or at a national office. If someone tells you all decisions are made at corporate and you’re calling on the local office. Work hard to qualify that as a fact and not a put off. You’d be surprised how much pull a local office has in a decision. Our goal is to find the right person, at the right location and start asking questions.

Questions start with guesses

Don’t always assume you know the reasons people make decisions. Often they will share a problem with you that needs to be explored. Have follow-up questions that move a prospect from an intellectual answer to an emotional one. Drilling down on PAIN points will reveal the true motives. Use P. A. I. N. as an acronym.

P stands for problem. Ask them to share the problem. Be sure to have them say it. People have a tough time disagreeing with themselves and something they’ve said.

A is for attributes. Be sure to get all the attributes involved with the problem. This includes other people, different departments, and additional work.

I stands for impact. Again, be sure to have them say what the impact to them is in the problem you are helping them solve. Do not present any solutions at this time as tempted as you will feel.

Lastly and here’s what will set you aside from others and remove the objection of “your price is too high.” N is for numbers. Translate the impact into a dollar amount (i.e. late shipments, repeat visits, missed deadlines, bad quality, wrong sizes, redo’s and do over’s). What does it cost you when things don’t go right? Guess what? This is where your price will be compared to your solutions. The difference is value or an objection for your to handle later.

What else is involved?

So far we have discussed people, places and PAIN. Other pieces of the selling game include money and time. I think of theses as resources (weapon pieces in the Clue game). They can be used by you or against you. Once the cost of PAIN is determined it is going to be easier for the prospect to justify the cost you are putting on your solution. I’m guessing you have a ball park price on your proposal. Now would be the time to give them a range and prepare them for it. Seek some kind of affirmation they are ready, willing and able to invest that in your solution.

One area that gets overlooked a lot is when your solution needs to be installed and active; and the date they sign your purchase order. Be sure to walk them through the process from P.O. to going live. This attention will give them a sense of urgency. And you need to be ready and available to handle their questions, so they can expedite your sale.

Once you have the people, places and resources you can call the game and guess the contents of the envelope and win the game of Clue and our game of selling. Good luck.