Sales Process

Whale Hunting Practice #13: Master the 2-Card Questions

By November 7, 2009December 29th, 2015No Comments
When you play Texas Hold ‘Em, you have to be really good at understanding the odds based on your first two cards.  Good players don’t kid themselves about their hole cards and play lousy hole cards only in certain specific situations.  More often, they fold, preserving their resources until the odds improve.  In fact, the player who comes in second is the biggest loser, having paid the most to lose!

Likewise, in your sales process, there should be key questions to ask the whale in your early encounters so that you will know whether to pursue a deal or send the whale back to Baja.  We call these your “2-Card Questions.”

For example, here are questions that you may need to answer, early:

  • do you have budget for the work we are proposing?
  • have you ever done business with a company as [small, unknown] as us?
  • when will you make your decision?
  • is it possible you will select a provider that is not the lowest bidder?
  • are you the ultimate decision maker?

Now, you can’t necessarily ask the questions bluntly–you may get answers that are not entirely true and you may offend the person who has been willing to talk with you.  So here are some ways to translate those questions:

  • where does the budget reside for this project?  when is that budget awarded?
  • the last time you did business with a small company like us, what kind of experience did you have
  • can you help me understand the steps in your process of selecting a vendor?
  • the last tie you bought from a vendor who was not the lowest bidder, how did you arrive at that decision?
  • who are the people who will be impacted by your decision?  will you introduce my team to them?

Ask your hard questions early and often in order to improve your business development process.   You have nothing to lose.  If the odds are stacked against you at the beginning, you want to be devoting your efforts to a more likely prospect.  Help you team learn how to maneuver the 2-Card Questions!