The three big questions in sales

There are three questions I think a salesperson has to answer for a potential buyer:

  • What is it that I’m buying? (Understanding)
  • How is it relevant or valuable to me specifically? (Relevancy)
  • How risky is it to buy? (Risk)

The difficulty of answering these questions can vary widely depending on what you are selling and to whom you are talking. But they all have to be addressed before someone will buy.

For a salesperson, understanding which question seems to be the most challenging to answer most of the time can be key to focusing your message. Also, experience in answering these questions in order, while choosing just the right words to answer each question quickly and effectively is key.

For a marketer, by choosing potential buyer segments that easily understand what you are selling, find what you are selling very relevant, and feel that it is less risky than others do, you will likely make things much easier on yourself. With each successive sale, understanding and relevancy will be better understood by tougher targets – while risk will be perceived as lower.

For a businessperson, you can rate the worthiness of a business on these three dimensions. If one out of the three is a real barrier, you can probably find a way around it and capitalize on doing so. But if what you are thinking of providing to buyers is confusing, lacks wide relevancy, and is a risky thing to buy, it’s clearly not a wise investment.

A final point: most salespeople, and most websites, ignore the first question. Then they wonder why they just can’t get past the second or third one.


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