Let’s Play Dominos


Let me share a story about Lorne Whitehead, a physics professor at the University of British Colombia.  In 1983, he published a paper that proved how a childhood game – we’ve all played – is capable of creating complete and utter chaos.  Matter of fact, this game is capable of unimaginable devastation and destruction.   Let me paraphrase from Smithsonian.com.

You’ve heard of the domino effect.  It’s a chain reaction, or cascade that takes place when the first domino topples the second and so on.  Whitehead showed how twenty-eight dominos, each 1.5 times larger than the next, could wipe out the empire state building.  What’s amazing is that the first domino only has to be 5mm high by 1mm thick to start the process.  

My point?  One small “domino” added to your selling process can provide the catalyst for an amazing cascade in your sales performance.  In your case, that domino has a name – Developing Undiscovered Customer Needs. Let me start with the basics and then move to the “How to”.

Your customer goes through a series of events before they actually go shopping. Let’s use their current home as an example.  When they initially move in, everything is just fine – no problems, no issues – no challenges.  Sure there might be a few teeny-tiny things that bother them, but for the most part everything seems fine.  But over time, things begin to change.  

Small issues turn into dissatisfactions, which grow into problems. And at some point these problems grow into bigger problems that become serious enough to cause your client to get off the couch and begin to explore different alternatives. 

Even though your client’s problem is serious enough to shop, it’s probably not serious enough to buy.   And that’s because of the price associated with a high-ticket product.  When comparing the cost of change to the size of their problem, the value of a solution loses its luster.  It costs you extra visits and extra time … and possibly a discount.  But all is not lost.  

Amplifying or developing your customer’s initial problem into a bigger and more serious problem – one worthy of solving – means nothing more than adding a few extra questions to your sales process.  Just add the questions that cause your customer to “Think about the things they haven’t thought about.”

That’s your first domino – Developing Undiscovered Customer Needs.  Knock  that Domino down and you’ll start a cascade leading to more and more success. 

Ask questions that cause your customer to “Think about things they haven’t thought about.”  It will help you and your customer too.

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