We can't!

When you hear someone in your group saying, "We can’t do that, they won’t let us," or "We have to do it this way," step in and ask, "What are all the alternatives available to us?" and "Which course of action will really take us where we want to go?"


There's a short phrase that can very easily help you to shift gears from berating yourself and wallowing in an error to a more positive kind of programming.



Much like 'next time', 'up until now' is a great way to set your mind to achieving.

Instead of saying "I don't like cold calling", this can be changed to "up until now, I haven't found cold calling easy"


Series' of touchpoints can do a lot of account management and sales for you.

Touchpoints in 'background' + improved questioning model = success.


Because client knows you're attentive (because of touchpoints) and because you ask more and better questions they'll think you know a lot more than you may actually do!

Open questions  

Successful salespeople ask LOTS of closed questions...open questions is a myth...


You are constantly changing, and there is no reason at all why the way that you have done things in the past will be the way that you will do them in the future.

Q. Do you still wet the bed?

Things you own

The most important things you own


  • time
  • mind
  • questions
  • network

are the most important things you own as a salesperson.

Ask for an order?

In 10 years pitching and selling, I have never had to 'ask for the order'. In fact, I've only ever seen one order form in my life.

This is because:

I ask the right questions.

It's that simple.

Prospects ask me how should THEY complete the order.

Brave & legends


Managing Directors & Business Owners:

"Are you brave enough to do something like this?"


Senior Managers & Ambitious people:

"Would you like to be known as the person that brought this into the business?"

Hope is a bad word

If you 'hope' a deal comes in, you will surely be less impressive than a competitor who didn't hope and followed up the proposal/meeting with something of true value for the prospect. 

Never ever hope a deal comes in again.


What's In it For Them?

Most salespeople - even ones that are periodically successful - rarely think about this.

Think about your recent calls and meetings - what was in it for them?

What's the best way?

"What's the best way...?"

is a great, 'catch all' question that should be used much more often by sales people and those who deal with prospects and clients.


It's very hard not to comply with a question that starts this way. It's hard for someone to say "NO". Only the most savage, rude or extremely busy people find ways to not answer a question like this.

Try it now on me...

Know Like Trust

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”

- Bob Burg

First 15%

During meetings in the past, I have:

  • Dropped the 'C-bomb'.
  • Shouted at prospects
  • Walked out of a meeting, claiming one of the prospects ludicrous.
  • Told prospects that hated their product...

and each time I WON the business. Why?

Because in the first 15% of the meeting, the impact that I made was so strong, that much of what was said after this period was just icing on the cake.

Getting the first 15% of a pitch or meeting correct - by asking the right questions - can make you feel much more free to be yourself during the remaining time.


General, useful information about the importance of questions.


Example of the power of questions in a consultative environment:

Wachovia's sales tactics were:

Cold calls asking for appointments to introduce new products

For every 100 calls, they attained 10 visits and closed 2 on average, taking 11 months.

They changed strategy to this question (rather than trying to get meetings):

“Hi. My name is John. I’m a small business banker at Wachovia. I hope this is a good time to speak. I’m wondering how you’re getting your financial needs met when your current bank can’t get you the resources you require.”

With this strategy, 37 businesses from 100 calls asked them to visit and Wachovia closed 30 sales within 12 weeks.

Emails and questions 

Getting great responses from 'cold' emailing, or emailing people you have already spoken with can be had with great questions.

For example, if you sent an email to a prospect, and started with...

"What's the best way..."

you can create emails that have great response rates, and lead to much greater conversations.

To many, emails are deemed a useless sales tactic...but they haven't understood the power of great questions.

Another way to improve email potency is to simply use the subject line of just 'Question'.

Try it...


ONE question changed the entire course of a relationship.

The question itself was innocuous, but it gave the prospect lots of inspiration, which made him talk...and talk and talk...

He talked so much, he told us everything we needed to know.

He thought we were very interesting...but we really only asked one question.


A meeting with the managing director of Capita was something that he had granted only after lots and lots of harassing.

He had hardly heard of the company.

We began to tell him who we were, and he started to realise that he knew us all along. He mentioned that he had a young team of project managers.

The meeting so far was a solid 6.

and then...the question...

"How do you know that your team are making the correct decisions when hiring in the right IT/AV equipment for events."

Which made him think....really think. He got very nervous.

He eventually asked us to help him hire new project management staff!

James Newman

James W. Newman was a pioneer in the study of high-performance behavior.

Mr. Newman’s ideas and innovations have blended into the fabric of business culture. The term, “comfort zone,” was, for example, a Jim Newman invention. Mr. Newman’s teaching empowered millions of people to do more and to be more than they ever thought they could.

Much of the personal development and interpersonal communications training being offered today is grounded in the principles Jim discovered. 

Release Your Brakes

Release Your Brakes is the very best book you can read to reach your sales potential.

This book is read by the greats such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Dan Pena, Richard Branson and more - and is not very well known outside of elite business circles. 

It is out of print and can cost anywhere from £120 to £10,000 on amazon, such is its quality and rarity. As this sentence is written, one copy is available for £10,587.71! However, you can purchase an .epub version from Pace.org for $15.95.

A must read.

Dan Pena

Dan Pena is very different from any other sales brain that you will encounter.

He's nicknamed the $50 Billion Man, due to the amount of money he himself and students of his QLA coaching sessions have earned in business.

Pena is a devotee of James Newman, his own mentor - and you could not meet two different people and personalities.

Pena is now over 70 years of age, yet has the animal instincts of top performers half his age.

His language is very blunt and you must ensure that when in his company, that you do not mess around.

Pena is a great antidote to the many poor sales coaches and mentors that exist today.

Bob Burg

Bob Burg is a motivational speaker, consultant and author. He has spoken internationally to Fortune 500 companies, associations and individuals on topics related to business networking and positive persuasion.

He has been featured on the national rally circuit, sharing the platform with legends such as Zig Ziglar, Larry King, Mark Victor Hansen, Willard Scott, Paul Harvey, and others.

A frequent media guest, Bob's articles have been published in hundreds of professional and trade magazines. His books include Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales and Winning Without Intimidation: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion.


"Concentration at its best is effortless"
Major changes?

A question for the group...

"If we were to become the kind of team that you would like to see us become, what would be one of the major changes that would happen?"


"Adventure is the deliberate, volitional movement out of one’s Comfort Zone."

Group goals

"Groups, like individuals, must have goals or they die. Some sense of purpose is essential to the continued existence of every epi-organism, whether it is a marriage, a company, or a sales team."

Get through the day

"If your primary goal is to “get through the day,” then you will have just as much creativity, awareness, and energy as you need to get through the day - and not an ounce more"

"People who do not have goals - for whatever reason - literally, physically die"

All for free

Despite Dan Pena reputed to be worth over £700m, he travels the country, offering his advice, and speaking at various engagements - for free.

All of the materials for his £20,000 seminars are free, too.

Pena has given everything away for over 30 years - his entire secrets, knowing that only a fraction of a percentage of people will use it to the degree that will make them a real success.

Another example of 'go giving' being the basis of a winning formula for success.

Sales organism

"The epi-organism tends to function about as effectively as the attitudes within the group will permit"

Burg & Newman agree

Newman writes, 

"...the more you give away to other people, the more you get. The more you reinforce, enhance, undergird the self-esteem of the other people in your world, the better you like you."

Castle QLA

Dan Pena's 8-day QLA Seminar, hosted at his CASTLE, costs £20,000 to attend.

This fee is to show your seriousness, rather than being money that he necessarily needs. He donates much of it to various Catholic charities.

As you will see from the 'Why You're Poor' video, this money does not ensure that you are treated like a king or queen if you behave in a way that is not 100% impeccable.

He has thrown people out, with no refund, merely for not holding out a chair for a woman at dinner - on the first day!

Why you're poor!

Watch and learn...

Burg's laws

Bob Burg created these 5 laws - something that all people in business - especially in sales, should live by.

  1. The Law of Value - Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

  2. The Law of Compensation - Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

  3. The Law of Influence - Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place others interests first.

  4. The Law of Authenticity - The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

  5. The Law of Receptivity - The key to effective giving is staying open to receiving.

The Go Giver

The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be.

Joe learns that changing his focus from getting to giving - putting others' interests first and continually adding value to their lives - leads to unexpected returns.

The Go-Giver  is a heartwarming and inspiring tale that brings new relevance to the old proverb 'Give and you shall receive.'

Burg, Pena, Newman

Important snippets from three sales minds you should know about

SDM video

Watch and learn...

Decision strategists

Watch and learn - the last few seconds are key...

Facilitative questions

Open questions gather data – pull information out from someone who has already made a decision on this topic and is sharing their choices with the questioner.

In sales, sellers typically ask open questions so they can determine ‘need’ or understand where the ‘pain’ is so they can better position their product.

Facilitative Questions are systems based, and not reliant on content. They follow the sequence of how decisions are made (generically) and lead the questionee through their systemic (and usually unconscious) thoughts.

Sit at the table
To 'sit at the table' with a prospect means to be involved in a buying decision with them and their colleagues. 

Salespeople far too often base how they are going to structure a proposal based ONLY on information given by a prospect AFTER they have effectively made a decision with colleagues.
Example SDM  questions 

How do you currently xxx your yyy? How is that working for you?

Is anything missing? Is there something further you'd want but aren't getting?

What's stopping you from getting what you want from your xxx?

How are you currently set up to fix this problem with the current resources you've got in place (i.e. current vendors)?

What's stopping you from using your current resources (vendors) to fix the problem?

What would need to know in order to consider doing something different from what you are currently doing?

 Wachovia  & Barclays

She was courted by several banks and institutions and eventually worked with Barclays, having insisted to sit at the table with no less than 14 key people at the bank when negotiating her contract.

Her Buyer Facilitation intellectual property has been leased to Barclays for almost 20 years and is used every time a customer has purchased something of a consultative nature in that time.

She receives a six figure sum each year for exclusivity.

Buyer facilitation is extremely powerful.

Sharon Drew Morgen

Best-selling author, sales genius, and sits on very exclusive think tanks with Neil Rackham (who thinks she's a genius).

Sales coaches today think she is nuts.

Which is exactly why she is a genius.

Buyer Facilitation  

Created by sales genius, Sharon Drew Morgen, Buyer Facilitation is the process of asking questions and talking in a way that helps to ensure that you get to sit at the same table as your potential customers when they are in the decision making process.

Not simply selling them something when they have already started down a decision path - which may not be to your, or more importantly their benefit.

Top performers

A study of over 500,000 B2B conversations reveals that top performing sales people ask questions differently than their peers - and more often.

Consistent with SPIN Selling research, the data shows a strong connection between the number of questions a salesperson asks and their conversion rate whether that be a further meeting or sale.

Ask, don't pitch

When sellers ask questions rather than just make their pitch, they close more deals.

Pacing  questions 

Top performing salespeople tend to scatter questions throughout the sales call, which makes it feel more like a conversation than an interrogation.

Lower performers, in contrast, frontload questions in the first half of the sales call, as if they’re making their way through a to-do list.

Just one more...

Another Harvard study shows that adding just one more question in each call/meeting can improve your success rates dramatically.

Although this is different for various parts of the world, industry, and other variables, asking up to around 13 questions during meetings can drive great success.

Need/ Payoff examples


  • How do you feel a faster machine will help you?
    Is there any other way that a machine might help?
  • Would it help if a new system could reduce your employee turnover?
  • You said a new machine would be really useful, in reducing your training costs, or is there something else?
  • How much kudos would you gain if this stand was chosen as having the best technology at the event?
  • If you could cut down on the amount of time you spend thinking about IT/AV around events would it generally make them run smoother?
  • Will the owner of the business notice the event has gone well and be impressed by you?
  • If we could minimise the amount of lost leads by 10% a quarter, how much increased revenue would that bring to your organisation?
  • If you could cut the amount of time spent training new staff on your CRM, what impact would that have?
  • Why is being able to [action that encompasses end goal] important to you?
  • If you could cut the amount of [resource required] to [end goal], what impact would that have?
  • If you could easily see [something that is unclear for them right now], how would that help you achieve [end goal]?
Implication examples


  • Does your overtime expense increase when your equipment goes down?
  • Do bottlenecks result because you only have two people who can operate your order processing system?
  • Are you experiencing high turnover and training costs because of he difficulty that your employees are having in operating your equipment?
  • If your equipment didn't look amazing then what would be the impact be on your brand? 
  • How would you be affected if your equipment went down onsite during an event? 
  • If attendees are going to be interacting with the equipment, does robustness play a factor in your IT/AV hiring choices?
  • If the event didn't give you enough power outlets or internet access on the day of the event, would this cause problems?
  • If [necessary task] doesn’t happen, what’s the impact on [team]’s outlook?
  • If [x resource] is [problem1] and [problem2], what does that mean for [stakeholder]?
  • If you can’t [necessary ability], how much [resource like time] do you need to fix it?
Problem examples


  • Are you satisfied with your present equipment?
  • What are the disadvantages of the way you’re doing it now?
  • How difficult is it to process orders with your present system?
  • What reliability problems does your equipment have now?
  • How long does your current coffee machine take to brew a cup of coffee?
  • What disadvantages do you have with your current AV supplier? 
  • When did you first notice an increase in the prices you were paying for your coffee?
  • What's the biggest problem you've had so far dealing with your current supplier? 
  • What problems occur when setting up your event? 
  • Do you find it time consuming switching between IT/AV suppliers? 
  • Do you need to know that the IT/AV company you use to hire knows the venue inside out?
  • How much time are you spending to do [x] on your own?
  • Do you find that it’s expensive to [do the action you’ve been doing to get to X result]?
  • What’s the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now with managing [x goal]?
  • Have you ever looked into fixing this problem?
Situation examples


  • What equipment are you using now?
  • How long have you had it?
  • Is it purchased or leased?
  • How many people use it?
  • How do you currently manage your IT/AV Needs? 
  • How often do you get coffee delivered to your location?
  • How many cups of coffee do you go through a day?
  • Is it important to you knowing that your equipment is secure during your event? 
  • How many delegates are you expecting at your conference and how many will be using technology? 
  • What type of AV are you using at the moment? 
  • Tell me, whats the one thing you could not live without at this event? 
  • How many times a year do you hire equipment?
  • [Recap what you’ve found so far in your research.] Did I get that right? 
  • Catch me up to speed — How do you manage a process like [x]?
  • How do you keep track of [x]?
  • What is your process for maintaining an overview of [x]?
Software examples

How do you currently manage and roll out e-learning content?


Do you find it time consuming rolling content out traditionally?


If content creation is very time consuming how might that affect the workflow of the trainer or L&D Manager?


If you could house your content in one platform, so all training material has the same look and feel, would this help you to produce a much better training solution?

IT Rental examples

IT Rental Company Questions

How do you currently manage your IT/AV needs?

Do you find it time consuming switching between IT/AV suppliers?

If your IT/AV equipment doesn't look brilliant, what would be the impact on your brand?

If you could get people to think that you had the best, shiniest AV equipment, would that help your profile in the industry?


Real examples of questions to use in the SPIN model.

About This HiveMind

This HiveMind was created by James Welch to help salespeople and account managers to understand the benefits of using a better question model to sell more.

By using the examples on this HiveMind, including SPIN Selling techniques and the excellent techniques from Sharon Drew Morgen, salespeople can dramatically improve their effectiveness.


What am I not...?

"What am I not asking you that I should?"

Do they enjoy your questions?

"Be a good listener", Dale Carnegie advised in his 1936 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People.

"Ask questions the other person will enjoy answering."

How can I tell?

Let's discuss...

"How can I tell when I meet my contacts that they’re a good customer for you?"

Questions  and major goals

Harvard's 1970s, research suggests that people have conversations to accomplish some combination of two major goals: learning and liking.

Recent Harvard research shows that asking questions achieves both.

SPIN video

Watch and learn...


Questions seeking facts

Situation questions form the starting point for your conversation. By asking situation type questions, sales reps can develop an understanding of context to uncover the buyer's problems. In turn, this background information can be used to guide the conversation in an appropriate way.

The key to succeeding with situation questions is to do research IN ADVANCE of the conversation, so you can avoid boring prospects with questions where the answers are common knowledge.

The MORE situation questions in a sales call/meeting, the LESS likely that you will succeed. It shows that you have not prepared.


Ask about difficulties and dissatisfactions the buyer experiences which in turn you can overcome.

If you can get a customer to acknowledge there’s a problem that needs to be fixed, they’re far more likely to give you the attention you need.

Problem questions achieve just that, by probing to discover what’s causing your prospect pain.

In addition, problem questions are highly effective at encouraging a prospect to identify an issue that’s been overlooked.

e.g. "What prevents you from making a sprocket that gets returned less by customers?"

By asking problem questions, you can get ready to 'pounce'.


The purpose of this third set of questions is to make the customer eager for a solution to the problem(s) they’ve just identified.

Smart, implication questions will make the customer identify (for themselves) the effect, consequences and impact of that problem going unchecked.

In short, in order to encourage a prospect to consider your solution in any seriousness, they need to have a firm grasp on how serious the problem is.

Example: If training on your CRM is costly and time-consuming, what does that mean for new reps when they start?

Implication questions induce pain. They add consequences if action is not taken.

Need/ Payoff

Need-Payoff questions get the buyer to tell you about their explicit needs and benefits of your offering at the same time.

The secret to getting results with need-payoff questions is to ensure the buyer specifies the benefits themselves. So encourage them to visualise and imagine what would be different with that problem gone.

Need-Payoff questions are a mirror image of implication questions. Implication questions give people pain, Need-Payoff questions help them to use your remedy.

e.g. If users of your CRM needed little training, would this help save time and money?

Neil Rackham & SPIN

Neil Rackham and his company, Huthwaite, conducted the largest-ever study of professional selling – observing more than 35,000 sales calls in over 20 countries, at a cost of $40 million in today’s dollars.

100’s of the largest companies in the United States, including IBM, Xerox, AT&T and Citicorp, have engaged Neil Rackham as an advisor on sales performance.

More than half the Fortune 500 train their salespeople using sales models derived from his research

SPIN Selling
Four types of questions that when asked (preferably in sequence), will significantly increase the likelihood of a lead translating into a sale.
  • SITUATION questions
  • PROBLEM questions
  • IMPLICATION questions
  • NEED-PAYOFF questions
See this document for more information: 

Example of benefit vs advantages

When selling a car to a bank robber...

See the difference:

"This is a very fast car"


"This is a very fast car that helps you to get away from slower police cars on high speed chases."

Why not enough?

Salespeople can be egocentric - eager to impress others with their own thoughts, stories, and ideas.

Some salespeople may be overconfident in their own product knowledge and think they already know the answers.

Many salespeople worry that they’ll ask the wrong question and be viewed as rude or incompetent.

Most salespeople just don’t understand how beneficial good questioning can be. They have yet to discover the true power of questions and how they win them business.

Be responsible

Think of business people who you really admire and respect.

As you have the opportunity to observe those people you will notice that in every instance they live their lives by taking responsibility for their actions.

This is NO accident.

They do what they do because it is what they want to do - or at least, because they have decided to do it - and that is one of the key reasons why they do it so much better than other people - why the potential they possess is flowing so consistently.

Be free

To be free is to have taken responsibility and be ready for consequences.

The only important kind of freedom is the freedom to choose, to decide, and to live with the consequences of our behavior. True freedom is the right to be responsible!

Benefits vs advantages

Think that benefits help to sell? Then you should understand the power of advantages!

Benefits - expanding the relevance of the service or product

Advantages - explain why the service or product is relevant

 Questions   per call

Simply put, the more questions that people ask per call or per meeting, the greater success those people have.

Data over 30,000 sales calls more than proves this.

Those questions include serious business questions, questions about children, and 'closed questions', despite what you may have heard about closed questions being a 'no no' during sales conversations.

Be consultative

Your goal is to be 'sat at the table' with your customer
and decision makers.

This is almost impossible unless you are a 'true consultant'.

Your questions and how you approach your prospects HAS to be different than it has been.

Picture the typical 90's pinstriped suit-wearing salesman with cheesy smile, red braces and white shirt.

That's probably you (in the mind of the wary prospect), whether you like it or not. Asking the right questions moves you well away from that vision.

Transactional vs Consultative

Transactional vs Consultative

Not enough questions 

Salespeople don’t ask enough questions!

In fact, among the most common complaints people make after a business meeting, is "I wish they had asked me more questions".

5+ Years ago

In just a few years, your competition has increased five-fold. In that same time, there is 20 x the information about your products, your company and your competitors available to prospects.

What worked then, is not good enough now. You must adapt.


An introduction to the transformation/
question model.

Sales & Account Mgmt  Transformation  Model