Your Billion Dollar Secret Weapon of Successful Selling

I really did deserve to get fired from my very first sales position. I lasted three and a half weeks at Thom McCann Shoes before they let me go for “my inability to sell.” As he walked me to the door, my manager told me I ought to stick with something I could do, like bussing tables or washing dishes. I took his advice because I was too embarrassed to try sales again for a few years.

It wasn’t until I took a part-time sales job in college that I learned how to use the Billion Dollar Secret Weapon of Successful Selling. Once I mastered it, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t sell. It helped me and the sales teams who worked with me over the past 30+ years deliver about a hundred billion dollars in sales! Want to learn the “secret?”

It works whether you are selling shoes or real estate, advertizing or jet aircraft. It works whether if you are selling retail, B2B, B2C, face to face, via virtual meeting, or over the phone. It doesn’t matter whether your products or services are priced at a few dollars or a few million dollars.

Every human being has the basic equipment that makes up the secret weapon of selling: a brain, two ears and a mouth (just like the guy at the right).

The “secret” to the billion dollar secret weapon is this: asking effective questions while conducting a thorough needs assessment. A successful needs assessment:

  • Ensures that you present only the solutions that precisely match your prospect’s wants, needs, circumstances, motivations, and ability to make decisions;
  • Reduces or eliminates potential resistance to accepting the solution you present;
  • Makes the “close” the easiest part of the sale; and
  • Adds a serious barrier to any competitors who’d like to take your customer.

Consider this best practices approach to conducting an effective needs assessment:

1. Identify the top five to seven general problem areas you want to learn about.

2. Create an opening question to begin your exploration of each problem area.

  • Example: “Tell me about your current approach to {name the problem you want to learn about}”

3. Based on the answer, use a series of follow-up and deeper-level questions until you get to the root of the problem area. You want to learn about:

  • The circumstances surrounding the problem area,
  • His or her motivation in wanting to solve the problem (what it will do for him or her if it is solved),
  • His or her pain (what happens if the problem is not solved),
  • The priority given to solving the problem, and
  • Who besides him or her will be involved in the pruchase decision?

4. Repeat the process with each of the opening questions you created in Step 2 above.

Simple. Straightforward. Effective! Just requires the discipline to DO it consistently…

Yet in working with thousands of salespeople over the years I find that performing an effective needs assessments is the selling discipline salespeople do least effectively. Many would rather tell the prospect about all the great things they offer and hope that something piques their interest.

Are you ready to improve your success in selling? Try the Billion Dollar Secret Weapon and you’ll be on the road to success in no time flat!

This article is from our powerful B2B sales generating program, Business to Business Sales Essentials™. Since 1998 we’ve been helping our clients increase their B2B sales and profits regardless of the economy, product or service sold. For B2B Sales Essentials™, contact us at 215-942-0982, visit us at or email BMG founder Hank Boyer at


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