How To Get Rich In Sales With The Magic Question

Jim Blasingame

So, you’re in sales. Congratulations. Here, take this. It’s a ring holding a dozen keys – my gift to you.

You’ll see that the keys are essentially alike, except each one opens a different door in a series of doors which eventually gets you to the room where sits a very important person in your professional selling career:  The MDMIC (Main Decision-Maker In Charge).

And you’ll be happy to know that your MDMIC is just waiting for someone to open that door so she can buy something.

Each key on this ring represents your ability to perform a different step in the prospect-qualifying process so that you can make prospecting progress on the way to a face-to-face with the MDMIC who can make your dreams come true. And don’t worry. If you’re smart, work hard, and apply the time and energy, you’ll eventually open all those doors. Because it’s an article of faith that selling is about elbow grease, shoe leather, and perseverance. A numbers game. You gotta put in the reps. Everybody knows that.

How successfully you practice that truth depends on you knowing that my gift of a ring with keys is not really that valuable. In fact, it’s the identical ring of keys every other salesperson holds at the moment the qualifying process begins, many doors before you can get to the MDMIC.

But what if I told you that there’s a Magic Key on that ring that opens the door to the room where the MDMIC is waiting right now? That would be valuable information, right? With that knowledge, you could go to what I call the Money Door immediately, bypassing all the other door/steps, and walk right into, you guessed it, the Money Room.

“Gimme, gimme,” you say.

Not so fast, grasshopper. If you want to blow right past all the other doors as your competition fumbles around with a bunch of keys; if you want to work smarter, not harder; if you want your first qualifying step to be using that Magic Key to go directly to a waiting MDMIC, you have to ask what I call the Magic Question. Here it is, and this is my very valuable gift to you.

The Magic Question: “Will you refer me?”

Why would you wait in a line of competitors if you don’t have to? Why would you rather play with keys than go directly to the MDMIC? Why would you take longer to be successful than is necessary? Why would you risk failure when you could learn how to ask the Magic Question? Alas, thousands, nay, millions of salespeople are guilty of these sales crimes every day. And it’s the single greatest reason most salespeople don’t get rich.

A referral is golden. It’s money in the bank. Anyone who ever got rich in sales will tell you they haven’t prospected since they learned how to ask the Magic Question. And have you ever wondered why a rich salesperson continues to sell when they don’t need the money? It’s because these words from an MDMIC makes it fun: “Come in. I’ve been expecting you. I have a problem and Susan told me you’re her problem solver.” Sweet!

So, how fast do you want to get to that level? To have that much fun?

None of those rich salespeople will tell you that getting referrals is easy – but neither is it complicated. It’s all about focusing on the prize, not the process. The process is opening doors. The prize is being the first to get in front of the MDMIC using only the Magic Key. It’s all about having a referral mindset and developing a referral strategy. By the way, using the Magic Question to get the Magic Key is the same price as that big ring of keys – it’s free.

There are many referral fundamentals, but for now, consider these and modify each one to your style:

  1. Spend at least as much time asking the Magic Question about a prospect you’ve identified as you do using those other keys that have names like cold calling, emailing, etc.
  2. Assuming your own MDMICs like you and how you perform for them, turn each one into a center-of-influence (COI). A COI is someone you know well enough to ask the Magic Question.
  3. A COI doesn’t have to be a customer – could be anyone who knows that you’re a professional problem solver. Regardless, getting the right results from the Magic Question usually requires some COI training, which is next.
  4. Explain to your COI – in person – that you work mostly from referrals, so you can maintain the highest quality of customers – like them. Then ask the Magic Question. Don’t overdo this or make it a big production. You just want your COI to think about the answer to a specific referral you seek. And then later, when you’re not in front of them, to remember your Magic Question. And please don’t ask a COI to give someone your card, unless they ask for it.
  5. When you get a referral, thank your referrer profusely before, during, and after the subsequent contact, especially if you get the business. And an appropriate gift is appropriate.
  6. I’ve made a living making and fulfilling this promise to my COIs: “If you refer me to a friend (or customer), I promise they will still like you after I contact them, whether I make a sale or not.”
  7. A sustainable, professional referral strategy includes you being an active referrer yourself. Asking for a referral from a COI is much easier after you’ve already referred them, even if they didn’t ask you the Magic Question.
  8. When you get all of these right, that MDMIC you seek might reverse the process and call you first. Yes, that is the sweetest.

So why has the Magic Question worked so well for so long and will continue to do so in the Digital Age? Analog humans are still hard-wired to want to help other humans – especially when they’re asked.

Write this on a rock ... Stop fumbling around with keys. Focus on your referral mindset and strategy. It can make you rich – and happy.

Jim Blasingame is the author of The 3rd Ingredient, the Journey of Analog Ethics into the World of Digital Fear and Greed.

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