Too often I hear sales people asking the same simple, no thought questions expecting the customer or prospect to stop whatever they are doing, get excited about the sales person’s present and start telling all.
Well, this may happen in the sales person’s dreams, yet, in real life only the tough questions get the attention of the prospect or customer.
Since simple, no thought questions are the norm from every sales person who gets an audience with the customer or prospect, they have developed an automatic corporate response to these questions. There is no emotion, no real information provided and they are used to basically say – check, I’ve answered your question, my turn – how much does it cost. End of interview is upon you.
So what do you do?
You have to think about what is probably causing this customer or prospect to lose sleep every night? What could be causing problems or issues for this person? What stressful event is coming that needs attention? Where could problems be larger and more expensive to fix? In other words, slip into the customer or prospects shoes, think about possible issues or concerns and write them down.
Once you have them written down, think about related issues, concerns or even consequences to inaction on the part of the customer. Note these issues and begin to create tough questions.
Now some of you are probably saying – wow, tough questions will just make them mad or angry at me! Well, how can put this – WRONG! Customers and prospects who are busy respect sale people who ask tough questions that force them to clear their minds and actually think about the answer and response to you.
Years ago, I had two mentors who coached me regarding questions. One, told me to be bold, get out there and differentiate yourself using bold or tough questions. The second mentor told me to ask questions that gain rapport and help to customer to solve or see the pathway to the solution using my questions as the guide. These two mentors knew what they were talking about and their advise has been very beneficial to my success.
So there you have it. Use tough, bold questions to get the attention of busy executives and buyers, who need to think about their situation in a different light than the status quo – if you want them to think about change. In order for them to leave what they currently have and move to your solution, they must see things differently with you in the frame as the problem solver or catalyst for change.