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The Golden Question for Sales Success

In the competitive world of contracting services, especially painting, building rapport with your prospects and effectively handling sales objections is crucial for success. In this article, we will delve into a powerful question that has the potential to transform the way you approach sales and customer relationships. It’s termed as ‘The Golden Question’. Let’s decode this vital tool, understand its intricacies, and learn how to apply it proficiently to gain an edge in selling your painting services at the right price.

Unveiling the Golden Question

As a painting contractor, you are often in the position of selling your services. However, the sales process is rarely a smooth sail; various hurdles arise, often concerning pricing or processes. So, what is the Golden Question? A simplistic yet incredibly effective question, “What do you think we should do next?”, or variations of this question tailored to suit the context. Let’s dig deeper into the premise and understand the significance of this question in sales.

Understanding Buyer Motives: Pain and Pleasure

Before diving into the Golden Question's application, we need to understand why people buy. People make purchasing decisions based on their motives, not yours. These motives usually stem from two deep-rooted human emotions - pain and pleasure. Whether it's buying a computer, booking an airplane ticket, or hiring a painting contractor, these two factors play a substantial role. As a salesperson, it's imperative to understand and connect with these motives instead of imposing your own reasons. This connection builds trust, which is an invaluable asset in sales.

Partnership Implication

One of the critical aspects of The Golden Question is the use of the word "we". By saying "What do you think we should do next?", you are implying a partnership. It creates a sense of collaboration and demonstrates that you are on the same side as the customer. This is essential in building rapport and trust with the prospect.

Navigating Through Price Objections

Let’s consider a scenario where you, as a painting contractor, face a common objection regarding pricing. A prospect might say, “Your quote is considerably higher than others.” A typical, untrained response might be to start defending your price by talking about the quality of materials or other factors. However, this defense is usually ineffective. Instead, by employing the Golden Question in response to the pricing objection – “I understand. What do you think we should do next?” – you put the ball in the prospect's court. This prompts them to think of solutions or compromises that are acceptable to them. Remarkably, the solutions they come up with often work in your favor.

Leveraging Silence

Another important aspect is to embrace silence after asking the Golden Question. In sales, silence is an extremely powerful tool. It compels the prospect to fill the space, often leading them to divulge more information, or in many cases, agree to your terms or offer a compromise that is still favorable to you.

Avoid Justification, Foster Control and Collaboration

Using the Golden Question allows you to avoid the pitfall of justifying your price or services. Justifications are usually your reasons and not the prospect’s. Moreover, this question gives the prospect a sense of control in the sales process while allowing you to steer the direction subtly. This establishes a partnership that encourages collaboration to find a mutually beneficial solution.

An Example from the Trenches

A real-life example from a painting contractor involved the client saying that the price was considerably higher than expected. The contractor employed the Golden Question: “I understand, what do you think our next move should be?”. After a brief silence, the client proposed adjusting payment terms, allowing him to manage finances better. They reached an agreement that was acceptable to both, without altering the quoted price.

The Long-term Impact

Using the Golden Question can have a lasting impact on the relationship with your clients. When clients feel that they have been part of the decision-making process, they are more likely to feel satisfied with the outcome. This satisfaction can translate into repeat business, positive word-of-mouth, and referrals, which are invaluable for the growth and sustainability of your business as a painting contractor.


As a painting contractor, understanding and effectively utilizing the Golden Question – “What do you think we should do next?” – can be a game-changer in your sales approach. This simple, yet potent question:

1. Engages the client by implying a partnership.

2. Helps you connect with the client’s motives and build trust.

3. Encourages the prospect to offer solutions, often favorable to you.

4. Avoids the trap of justifying your price or services.

5. Can have a long-term positive impact on client relationships.

Remember, successful sales are not just about closing the deal, but also about building relationships that foster repeat business and referrals. The Golden Question, when coupled with a genuine understanding of your client’s needs and motives, can be an incredible tool in achieving these objectives.

So next time you find yourself facing a sales obstacle or objection, remember to employ the Golden Question and leverage its power to navigate the sales conversation to a mutually beneficial conclusion.

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