What if I could give you four words that would help you close more sales and be a better project manager, would you wanna know those words? I was amazed to find out how well they work. Those four words are, what do you think? What do you think? I got this from this book to Sell As Human by Daniel Pink. It’s a great book on sales and it, it has all kinds of great techniques in, in there for you. But one of the most powerful is the short forward phrase. What do you think? Now you can use this phrase in lots of ways with clients and in projects, um, but here’s how it works and here’s why it is so powerful is that because in sales, especially for some reason, especially when you’re new at it, you think sales is more about talking about you, you think it’s more about I gotta say everything that’s great about me and convince them to give me money and, and tell them why I’m the, I’m better than all my competitors.
And you just talk and talk and talk and we add more information and more information. The problem with that is, is that sales is actually more, much more about listening. Sales is way more about hearing what your prospect needs and wants and what their problems are than it is a talking about what you do all the time. And so the words, what do you think are magic when it comes to sales? And they go like this, um, somebody, you have a prospect on the line and you’re talking about whatever it is, you give them an idea or you shoot them a little proposal or you give them a bullet list of like, here’s, here’s what I’m thinking we could do for this project and here’s what I think it should cost and here’s how long I think it will take. We’ve all written these emails or have these conversations, but we then usually stop talking then and we make it sound like that is the offer, the only offer.
And if they don’t take that offer, that’s not the, the project is off the four words. What do you think though? If you say, here’s what I, here’s how long I think it will take, here’s how much I think it will cost. Here’s what I, what I propose we do. What do you think? End your email with those four words. I guarantee you’ll get a positive response guarantee. They will come back every time and give you valuable information. This also works in project management is because if you have deliverable and you give this, uh, whatever it is to your client, uh, you send it to them and you shoot ’em an email or you give it to them in person or whatever and you can tell them about it and deliver it and go, uh, so, so what do you think?
There’s four big reasons why this, why this works really well. The first one is it puts your prospect or your client in control. It’s incredibly important when you’re especially in sales, to let your prospect know they are the one in control of this process. You’re not forcing them to do anything at any stage of the sales process. If you do, you have gone outside of persuasion and you’ve gone into coercion. It’s unethical and it’s wrong. And it’s why sales makes most people and salespeople make most people feel gross and slimy is they’ve taken the prospect out of control by saying, what do you think? It lets the prospect know, I am in control of this. I can give my ideas, I can adjust this project as we go along, or I can adjust this proposal. Uh, this person’s not gonna force me to do anything incredibly powerful.
It lets them relax. It gives them the power. Second thing that what do you think does is it avoids yes no answers. If you give a sales proposal to a prospective client and you don’t give them the option, you don’t say, what do you think about this? Tell me what you’re thinking. It is easy for them to assume that you gave them a yes no answer. It’s either exactly the way you wrote this or they have to say no. You don’t want clients thinking that because you don’t want to get nos. So you start and you give them your proposal and you talk about whatever it is the project is and you say, what do you think? It tells them, we can go back and forth. They can add their ideas, they can subtract this. They have options in this. And what that does is it keeps the conversation going.
See, if they just say, no, thank you, then you’re backtracking, then you’re like, oh, oh, well hang on. I can change it. I can change it. Right? You, you’re flatfooted. It’s a position of weakness. But just by saying, by proactively going, what do you think about this proposal, about this idea? It avoids that yes, no dichotomy. They don’t have to just make a decision right now. They can say, ah, you know what I, this, most of this looks really good, but I what if we did this? And the fear is with creatives is that, oh, they’re gonna cut me way down. They’re gonna take big chunks outta the project. Not necessarily, I’ve not had it happen like that a lot. It can happen of course, but it’s, but more often than not, they go, what if we did this? Could we add this? See, now you’ve made them a collaborator.
And the moment they start thinking like that, the moment a prospect, you help them imagine what the project could be, the much more likely you are to close that sale. ’cause now they’re emotionally invested. You’ve invited them in. See? So that’s the third value of what do you think is it invites collaboration. It invites people to offer their ideas. It gives the prospect the option to be a part of the creative process, which is so much fun and we love it, right? Why wouldn’t they love it? It also shows that you’re confident. It shows that you’re not scared to let them have some input on this project. Too many creatives are insecure and so they try and control every little aspect of it. Don’t do that. Collaborate with your clients. They will enjoy it more. They’ll be more envo, emotionally invested. They’ll usually pay you more and they’ll have more confidence that you know what you’re doing.
It might sound counterintuitive, but they will trust you more. If you ask them what they think. It shows you’re, you’re not scared to take new information on the last great advantage of What do you think is that it elicits feedback. It gives you feedback that you can then adjust to see now you are custom fitting your proposal or your project to exactly what your client wants. And lots of times when you start a project, you’ve probably experienced this. They don’t exactly know what they want. They’re not the professional creative you are. And so when they start to see things, then giving feedback lets you adjust to what they’re thinking. And now you’re making together. It doesn’t mean you have to do edits and changes forever and ever and ever. But by asking them, what do you think about this? It lets you adjust in real time.
You are showing empathy. You are showing care for your customer even before they become your customer. If you employ, what do you think at the end of emails and at the end of phone calls and at the end of meetings, tell me what you think. You will be shocked at. How many more sales you close, how many more happy clients you have and how more fulfilled. And they tell more friends, because this person brought me in, this person really cares about me. They are good at what they do, but they also care about the human side for powerful words. What do you think? Give it a try. It’ll do wonders. What do you think?