Is the 'Up At Night' Question a Good Question?
Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson’s – “Worst question a salesperson can ask” article, and “A Seat at the Table” by Marc Miller both state that asking what keeps a decision maker up at night is “the worst question a sales person can ask.”
So now I am receiving a plethora of emails questioning The Noise Reduction System™ for making that the core concept of making the noise go away from the First in Command.
Lets make this very clear. I absolutely agree with all these guys. As a matter of fact, I have been teaching the same concepts they are teaching for the last 10 years. I told my sales team in New Mexico (when selling insurance and risk management) that this question was a terrible question for a sales person.
Now you must be completely confused.
Lets look at the differences between the sales scenario and the FIC/SIC relationship scenario.
In a sales process we are trying to identify what the decision maker doesn’t know. We want to challenge the way they think and bring new value to them. Why would you simply ask what is keeping them up at night? By going through a quality unique process of identifying what they know and don’t know, you will not only learn about current concerns, you will learn about what they don’t know that could be very insightful and painful. This will allow you to challenge them and the way they think. Stephen Jobs said, "Good companies find out what their clients need and meet those needs. Great companies will change the way their clients think". Asking what keeps someone 'up at night' will only draw out what they know and how they think today.
In a First in Command (FIC) and Second in Command (SIC) relationship we are trying to do something completely different. One reason a FIC is 'up at night' is because they are worried about things in the business. These are things they know about. An effective SIC will take those things away and manage them so the FIC can get inside of their unique abilities and natural talents. How can the SIC take those things away if he/she doesn’t ask? The purpose of this question is to take the current thoughts away from the FIC so he can spend time with great sales people who will CHALLENGE THE WAY HE THINKS! (that is a joke). We really want the FIC to spend time doing what they do best. Asking this question will begin the process of giving them freedom. You have to read the book or go through the NRS™ training to learn the rest.
So, words and questions are not good or bad (except a few my mother told me not to use). It’s the application of those words and phrases that will determine their success. Larry Linne, Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, and Marc Miller all agree that “What keeps you up at night?” is a terrible sales question. As the expert on FIC and SIC relationships - I will tell you it is the best question you can ask as a SIC to a FIC.
Keep reading Make the Noise Go Away and taking The Noise Reduction System™ class. It works!
The Author, Larry G. Linne, is the Director of Innovation for ii.