The Pop Quiz You Need to Pass

Article by Frank TraditiRemember the old “pop quiz” when you were in school? Wasn’t it a great feeling when you were prepared with all the answers? On the other hand, it was a real drag when you were caught off guard and didn’t have a clue.

In business, we’re constantly being tested on our ability to perform. Whenever a client asks about hiring you for a project, you’re expected to pass the test.

Taking tests was never fun for me. One fine day in high school Social Studies class, the teacher sprung a pop quiz on us that I was totally unprepared for. I knew absolutely nothing about the questions being asked and couldn’t muster up even halfway decent answers. So I submitted a blank sheet of paper with my name on it — at least showing that I was in class at the time of the quiz!

I wasn’t expecting to get the paper back, but the teacher returned it to me with a big zero on it, saying, “Mr. Traditi, if you erase the goose egg, you can use the paper again.” Needless to say, I was completely embarrassed. I learned a lesson about being prepared for unexpected questions that has stood me in good stead as an entrepreneur.

Your prospects at any moment may be about to put you through a test to determine if they want to hire you. They may not ask you any history questions, but they will want to know if you have the experience and skills to help them achieve their goal or solve their problem.

In any situation where you are about to sell yourself, you should be prepared to pass this simple, but extremely important, “pop quiz” from your prospects about your capabilities:

  1. What can you do for me?
  2. How can we successfully work together?
  3. How will I benefit by using your services?

That’s it — only three simple questions, but getting the right answers may not be easy. The test is not multiple choice. You’ll need to have done your homework. And you’ll hardly ever get a chance to re-take the quiz.

Your prospects will be evaluating your answers to these three questions against the answers given by all your competitiors. Once you’ve received a passing grade on this quiz, you’ll get to advance to the next level — you’ll be in the running to get hired. But if you fail the quiz, you’ll be held back from advancing, and probably never hear from the client again.

The answers to these three questions will vary depending on your prospect’s unique situation and needs. So even though the questions always remain the same, your answers can change according to each client’s particular challenge, and what he or she wants and needs from you.

The key, though, is being prepared. For every prospect you have in your pipeline right now, you should be ready to answer these three quiz questions if your phone rings in the next five minutes and your prospect is on the line.

So, get out a piece of paper and your #2 pencil, and get started preparing some answers.

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