Ask “What if” for Better Results in All Areas of Sales, and Life

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

~ Voltaire

Ask “What if” for Better Results in All Areas of Sales, and Life

by Art Sobczak

Over the past 28 years, in delivering over 1200 training sessions and workshops, I have fielded lots of questions. Many of the same ones about parts of the sales call, some good, others not so much. But some of the toughest ones I ever received were from my kids years ago when they were younger.

“Dad, what if cars had wings and jet engines?”
“Dad, what would happen if people would sit on TOP of domed stadiums instead of in them?”
“Dad, what if ice cream came out of water faucets instead of water?”

Often I’d patiently give the logical answer that those things really weren’t reasonable to consider.

Other times I’d become frustrated in trying to explain how those situations weren’t possible.

I learned a very important lesson from my kids as it relates to sales, business, and life in general:

We too often think practically, logically, and in terms of what we think is acceptable or the way things are done. We don’t imagine enough, nor do our prospects and customers.

HP had a marketing slogan several years ago? It was “What if …?”

Same thing. It was designed to prompt people to think about possibilities. By doing so, you open up a whole new level of ideas, opportunities, and strategies. The imagination stretches.

Creativity expert Roger von Oech writes in his book, “A WHACK ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD” (Warner Books), that playful speculation can yield positive results.

Albert Einstein developed some of his early relativity concepts by asking himself, “What if I were an elevator falling through space at the speed of light. What if there was a hole in the side of it? What if a shaft of light came through this hole?”

Ask Yourself
Why not “What if?” with yourself and your fellow sales reps?

What if you did a few things differently?
What if you decided you were going to beat all sales records next month?

Ask Your Customers
You can do this on the phone with your prospects and customers, too.
For example,

“Mr. Prospect, let’s set the money issue aside here for a moment and get crazy. What if you did have this plan in place. What are all the positive effects you would notice?”

Picasso said that every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up.

It would be cool if ice cream came out of water faucets, wouldn’t it?

Art Sobczak, Business By Phone Inc., provides how-to ideas and tips for rejectionless prospecting, selling, and servicing by phone. Get the free ebook, “29 Sales Tips You Can Use Right Now” at

Coaching Call To Action

Take the following categories: prospects, customers, things you want, your career, people you care about. Come up with “What if?” questions to get you and them thinking in terms of possibilities. You’ll like the results.