A lot of people think they are engaging in consultative selling but really all they are doing is trying to second guess what their prospect is thinking. In this blog I share with you a game that you can play to make your sales meetings more fun and increase your sales too!

When I am training in advanced sales questioning techniques, I introduce a game I call ’20 consultative selling questions’. I think of a famous world landmark and the delegates have 20 questions to discover the name of it. The rules are that I will answer any question other than ‘What is it?’

It’s all done as a bit of fun and I am careful not to give the game away as I want to make a point. The normal early responses are something along the line of:

‘Is it in America?’
‘Is it in the Middle East?’
‘Is it in Europe?’
‘Is it in France?’

At this stage the group thinks they playing the game well. They are playing by the guessing rules rather than the discovery rules. Same game but different rules!

To give them a helping hand I draw 2 columns on the whiteboard and put a mark in one column for every closed question and mark in the other column for every open question. It carries on with the occasional open question thrown in – but normally it is something like ‘What country is it in?’ and then the guessing continues.

Then there is normally one smart person who works out the link between the types of questions being asked and marks I am making on the whiteboard. From this point the game is normally ended within a couple of questions….

‘What does it look like?’
‘A pile of rocks’
‘Where specifically is it?’
‘Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England’

And then the whole group shout out excitedly


I then point out that they could have got there within 2 questions – maybe even one – if they had just asked me the questions that discovered what I had in my mind rather than just second guessing.

We then go onto doing exercises in groups where the game moves from uncovering famous landmarks to uncovering business problems for which they have absolutely no technical expertise or product knowledge…..all within 20 questions…..and a deeper understanding of open questions.

Sales qualifying questions are far more effective when playing the discovery rules of the game. It is also easier to find a prospect’s pain and their compelling reasons to want to buy your product or service.

So, why not sharpen up on your sales questioning technique? As you have seen, a very small change in thinking can lead to a big difference in results! To make your sales meetings with prospects even more fun, start playing the 20 sales questions game (discovery rules) and see how few questions you need to ask to unearth what your sales prospects are REALLY thinking.