Are you a Salesman or a Fireman? – Part Two

by Sherrie English | Dec 17, 2019

This is part two of a two-part series by D2 coach Sherrie English.

You need to show them the SMOKE, while there is still time to save their future.

S– Set the stage
M– Make the dream real
O– Obstacles – What is keeping them from having what they want?
K– Know what they’ve done and what they are willing to do
E– Engage them in a solution

Here are some sample questions:

S – Set the Stage
Why are we having this conversation?

Answer: To figure out if we want to work together. There are three parts to that statement.

  1. Do you have a problem I can help solve?
    a. I have expertise in certain areas Are those the areas you need help with?
  2. Do you want me to help solve it?
    a. Not every person wants to solve every problem. Is this one you want to solve or are you willing to live with it?
  3. Do I want to work with you to solve it?
    a. Do you qualify to be my client? I have guidelines that are both quantitative and qualitative. You have to have a certain asset sizes and income levels, plus I have to feel like there is good chemistry, that you’ll respect my opinions and take action on whatever plan we come up with.

M – Make the dream real. What do they want?

Why do they want this? What’s the emotion that makes this important?

Sample questions might be:

  • What is most important to you to achieve financially your life/world/work? What about that makes it important to you?
  • If your life could be exactly the way you wanted it in retirement, what would that look like? If you had that, what would the best part of that be for you?

O – Obstacles- Why don’t they have it already?

Once you’re really clear about what the emotional payoff is for them, you can find out what is stopping them from having that feeling or result right now. These can be pretty straightforward questions like:

  • What’s the biggest challenge you have around that now?
  • What obstacles are stopping you from having that?

K – Know what they’ve done and are willing to do.

  • What difference will it make in your life, how far do you have to go, and how badly do you want it?
  • What are you doing so far to get to this goal? Do you have a 401(k)? A pension? IRAs? What about other savings or resources?
  • What will it be like for you if you can’t retire the way you’re envisioning?

E – Engage them in a solution.

  • How can we solve this and when?
  • How can someone like me help you get there?
  • Creating a plan is a lot of work. If you’re not interested in doing the work it takes to move forward, it’s not worth it to me either. Are you willing to do what it takes to move from here to there?

Fireman or Salesman?
Let’s go back to our opening scenario. When the fireman comes running out of your house just in front of the flames, your kids tucked safely under each arm and the dog right behind him, your first reaction is overwhelming gratitude – not irritated annoyance.

What kind of reaction do you want from people?

The choice is yours. By using questions to find out what they are really after and what challenges are preventing them from reaching their dreams, you transform from just another pushy salesman into the heroic fireman solving their most urgent problems.

Show them the SMOKE, and then put out the fire!

There are many more SMOKE questions we can ask to help engage potential clients. To find out more about how to apply this concept, schedule a complimentary consultation by filling out the box at right, emailing or calling 270-663-7264.

Return to Articles