Sales Techique – On A Scale Of 1 To 10

Posted on July 14th, 2013 by Linda McCormick

When worthwhile ideas come at you from all directions, you can depend on the value of those ideas. One idea that has surfaced repeatedly in my reading on sales and direct sales is the absolute necessity of focusing on questioning rather than telling.

Of course, this is a hallmark of the DSWA approach to everything from selling to recruiting.

sales technique

It is also very delightful when you find a specific technique repeated from varied sources.

One of my favorite closing tools is the Guest Care Card, which is distributed at the end of the party to the guests, asking them to answer several questions along the lines of “On a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you in hosting your own XYZ party.”

This tool is invaluable for getting more information on what the person is thinking and how close she is to having a need you can meet.

So imagine my delight to be reading a generic sales book (i.e., not direct sales), and finding a tweak on the Scale of 1to 10 question. Have you read Daniel H. Pink’s book, “To Sell Is Human”? It is full of gems of selling data that I am using to education and inspire my team. More on that later, perhaps.

This technique is called “Pantalon’s two-question technique.”

The tip I want to share with you right now is the brilliant modification of how to continue the conversation after you’ve reviewed the person’s response to the Scale of 1 to 10 question. In Pink’s book, he uses this question in an example of getting a teenager to want to do her homework.

He suggests saying to the teenager: “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning ‘not the least bit ready’ and 10 meaning ‘totally ready,’ how ready are you to study?” Of course a direct seller in a recruiting conversation would change the words to something like “how ready are you to join our company?”

As I read this, I thought, great, I’m already doing this. Imagine the person says, “5”. In the past what would you have said in follow-up conversation? Something like, great, what will it take to move that number up a bit?

Imagine how shocked I was to read his suggested follow-up language.

“Why didn’t you pick a lower number?”

Brilliant! Now the person is telling us what she likes about the prospects of joining our company instead of what is holding her back.

If you wish to read more about this technique, which is derived from research by Michale Pantalon , a research scientist at the Yale School of Medicine and an authority on “motivational interviewing,” this discussion is found on pages 145 and 146 of Pink’s book. As he concluded the discussion on this topic, “So on a scale of 1 to 10, how ready are you to try Pantalon’s two-question technique? And why isn’t your number lower?”