Wombat Book --- NewSell
by Dr. Michael Hewitt-Gleeson

This html-coded online version of the Wombat Final 15/5/06 9:12 AM -- wombatbook.pdf, was prepared by Darlene Sartore with some additions, clarifications, minor adaptations, color texting, and numbered paragraphs to make the text easier to use in follow-along reading and referencing during dialogs.... This version is for use only by course presenters certified by An Ever Better World Internet Academy. Permission granted from author on March 5, 2007.

Chapter 23. CVS Review
wombatbook.pdf pages 209 - 218

How to find out what your customer REALLY wants

A problem well stated is a problem half solved

In this chapter we'll be talking about what I call the CVS Review. This is the theme of a meeting that you may want to have with a prospective customer as early in the relationship as possible . . .

The Gallup Poll is one of the world's most credible organizations. It was founded by Professor George Gallup of Princeton who, as I've already mentioned, invented the use of the statistical sample in market research and opinion polling. This has so empowered public opinion that it may be the greatest act of democracy ever invented by a scientist. For his contribution, I always felt Dr Gallup deserved a Nobel Prize. He was also the originator of market research and, when he died in 1984, he was one of the pre-eminent marketing scientists in the world.

As my mentor, George was very keen for me to do two things: 1. encourage better use of our brains and 2. find ways to make better use of our experience. He felt the enormous intellectual capital reserves of the world were largely untapped. He said: 'Factors common to the successful can be identified as readily as those common to the unsuccessful' and that 'this is the simplest of all analytical processes and perhaps the most ignored in all departments of life'. His research showed that most of the problems facing individuals and nations on a daily basis have really already been solved but 'we make as little use of experience as we do of our brains'.

In other words, we are not very good at learning from each other. We all have to re-invent the wheel for ourselves. Even though solutions already exist for nearly all the problems we face each day, we are frequently victims of the NIH Syndrome (Not Invented Here). We tend to worry about fixing problems ourselves rather than searching for and identifying the solutions of others who have already solved similar problems.

Peer to Peer

Now that we have the Internet along with its search engines and intelligent agents we have an opportunity to learn and draw down from the whole world's experience, peer to peer. From the vast global reserves we can all make deposits and withdrawals of intellectual capital . . .anyone, anywhere, anytime . . . but only if we can escape from our own viewpoint. However, escaping from our CVS is one of the most difficult feats of thinking.

That is why George felt CVSTOBVS was such a useful switching method because it helped people to 1. identify a problem area (CVS) and 2. request a solution packet (BVS).

He impressed upon me the need to review the CVS of a customer before designing a BVS. He felt corporations and governments spent too little time reviewing the CVS of their stakeholders before offering them a BVS. In order to design a BVS from the customer's viewpoint you first have to pay attention to their CVS. This deliberate activity I call the CVS Review.

There is much research being conducted into brain activity in universities. For example, the Brain Sciences Institute at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne has a very promising technology for directly measuring the customer's CVS. In laboratory tests, brain activity is measured while people watch TV commercials and these tests have been successful in measuring the customer's CVS. However, there may be some time before these technologies get to the marketplace. Meanwhile, there is an easy method that anyone can use at any time to review the customer's CVS. It's called questions and answers, or ask and receive.

Two Ears and One Mouth

The simple skill of asking questions is widely underused, especially in selling. Oldsell has encouraged salespeople to use their 'gift of the gab' to tell customers what they need rather than to ask them what they want.

When I started out in the early 1970s my mentor, Fred Herman, along with Earl Nightingale, had written a book called KISS: Keep It Simple Salesman. Fred was best known for developing the skill of 'selling by asking questions'. He used to say, 'You've got two ears and one mouth so try using them in that proportion'.

Fred taught me his 7Q technique which I have evolved for reviewing a customer's CVS. It uses seven basic questions to review and explore the customer's CVS as a basis for helping them move to a BVS.

The 7 Question CVS Review - 7Q

Before jumping in with a solution for your customer you need to know what the problem is. This is not just your assumption of the problem but your customer's explicit CVS of the problem.

When you visit the GP she doesn't start off by selling you a cast for a broken leg. No. First, she asks you a series of questions. Based on your answers she may do further research and tests and consult colleagues. Eventually a diagnosis is reached and a treatment is prescribed.

You can do the same by asking these seven questions. This example was originally developed for selling insurance. I taught this to the AMP Moorabbin sales team in the 1970s and they rehearsed it so well that they became the number one insurance branch in the country in just 100 days.

This is a robust technique and one of the benefits of 7Q is that it can be remodeled to suit any selling situation for any product or service. If you decide to experiment with 7Q you will need to write and perfect your own version. It does pay to write it out and learn it like an actor learns lines. When you are skilled it will be second nature and spontaneous so you need to use your own idiom. Use the wording that is comfortable for you since you may not like some of the wording used here:

I don't know if I can help you or not but I called by to see if I can . . . I guess you can't hate me for that, eh?


I just wanted to get your answer to a couple of questions, would you mind if I ask them?


I've come to talk about insurance, but nobody wants to talk about insurance, do they? So let's not talk about insurance but I would like to discuss with you four quite important financial hazards that could be facing you about now. Would you be willing to spend a couple of minutes having a look at these four financial hazards?

IF 'YES' . . . WRITE ON PAPER 1. 2. 3. 4. Well, there are four financial hazards which may be of importance to you also. They're these:

Number one is: Dying too soon. (write on paper)

Dying too soon is when your family needs to have a minimum income coming in on a monthly basis and if something were to happen to you and that income was no longer available to them, then I guess that would be a financial hazard, wouldn't it?


Number Two is: Disability. (write on paper)

Disability is when your family still needs their monthly income but due to some accident to you it's no longer coming in, then that would be a financial hazard, huh?

Maybe there would even be some additional expenses for you too, so that could be a problem, couldn't it?


Number Three is: Problem/Opportunity. (write on paper)

Money for a Problem or Opportunity is when maybe some time in your life a problem arises. Something unexpected, like an emergency and if you don't have money for this emergency then it's a financial hazard for you, isn't it? Or, maybe instead it's an unexpected opportunity. Something that you decide is really a great opportunity for you and your family, if only you had the money to take advantage of it. If you lose it because you don't have access to the necessary cash, then that too would probably be a financial hazard for you, do you agree?


And finally, Number Four is: Living too long. (write on paper)

Living too long is when you do make it to retirement but you no longer have the energy or the inclination to earn a monthly income. However, you still need the money coming in for you and your family to enjoy your retirement. If that money isn't coming in for one reason or another, then I suppose that would be a real financial hazard for you, fair enough?


Okay. Just suppose you could wave a magic wand right now and get the solution to only one of these hazards. Which one would you choose as being the most important one to you right now . . .

Dying too soon? Disability? Money for a Problem or Opportunity? or Living too long?


Really? Would that be more important than Dying too soon?


Would that be more important than Disability?


Would that be more important than money for a Problem or Opportunity?

So it really is the Living too long?


May I ask why this is so important to you right now?

WELL, XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (here, customer elaborates on his or her CVS). And how does that make you feel? (open question to encourage customer to discuss CVS)


And then what happened? (open question to encourage customer to discuss CVS)


Which means . . . ? (open question to encourage customer to reveal CVS)


And so what would you hope to achieve? (open question for customer to discuss CVS)


Will that be your main priority? (open question for customer to discuss CVS)


How does your wife/husband feel about this? (open question for customer to discuss CVS)


Okay. Well, wow much would you need coming in each month to maintain your standard of living?

ABOUT $4500

Boy, you really do have a problem don't you? Looks like I got here just in time. You know, I was just wondering, how much would you be willing to put aside on a monthly basis to help solve this problem?


Could you really do that? Every month, even when things are a bit tight?


Okay. Well, let's see how much of your problem we can solve for $150 a month.


7Q Tips

If you want to use this strategy successfully to help customers discuss their CVS you need to be low-key and natural. To do this you need to work at it and here are some tips that I've found helpful:

1. Experiment with this at least ten times with potential customers and listen to their comments carefully. Your customers are the best teachers on how to evolve this technique.

2. Rewrite your final version and then, like a professional actor, learn your 7Q 100 per cent Shakespearean word perfect.

3. Think about the benefits of being skilled at the CVS Review.

4. Become so expert on this technique that it is second nature and spontaneous.

5. Be willing to spend around 25 hours of practice, repetition and rehearsal on 7Q over the next 30 days.

6. Make it fun to do and enjoy the process.

7. Help one another, work with your team and don't rest until every member of your team has become comfortably expert at this.

8. Think up new and creative ways to enjoy the rehearsals.

9. Pay particular attention to the open questions that encourage the customer to discuss their CVS. Listen! Listen! Listen to what your customer says.

10. Help them get what they want by designing a BVS around your product or service.

This html-coded online version of the Wombat Final 15/5/06 -- wombatbook.pdf, was prepared by Darlene Sartore with some minor adaptations and color texting, for use only by course presenters certified by Ideal Network Academy. Use permission herein granted from author Michael Hewitt-Gleeson on March 5, 2007.

Hardcopy book and pdf format sources NO longer online, might be available from links at
WOMBAT SELLING: How to sell by Word of Mouth

Return to About Author and Contents Index

Go To Chapter 24

VERBAL Dialogues in Internet Conference Room
and For Internet Conference DAILY Schedule,
consult data on this link.