To join the ranks of Sales Superstar, You must learn to ask Questions – early, often and late. I realize that some of you believe the early, often and late is about closing the sales – sorry, that is old school selling! Today’s superstar sales person masters this skill and uses it to gain a competitive advantage.
The big issue is this – the average sales person has a tendency to talk too much in a sales situation. Yes, they talk too much and actually bore or confuse the customer. Why? Because the customer also has an opinion about how things are going and what is important to them. Remember this:
“The Customer Will Believe Their Thoughts over Your Statements!”Yes, this is a form of bias, yet, the best salespeople have learned this and use questions effectively to learn and turn an opinion if necessary. So how can you use questions in the selling environment? Here are a few of the ways to use questions:
- To uncover customer bias
- To discover the buying criteria for the customer ( All customers use a buying decision pattern)
- To validate the sales person’s pre-work about the customer
- To learn about customer details that are not published or known anywhere else
- To find out what is causing pain or concern on the part of the customer
- To establish priorities regarding the importance of issues by the customer
- To learn about the consequences of these concerns or issues and who else is impacted
- To place a measurable result on a solution – a return in financial and emotional terms
- What an ideal solution looks like in the eyes of the customer – “Can they see a Solution?”
- Learn the specifics of what impact each person in the decision process needs for success.
The key point in the questioning process is to learn to be Customer Centric (Focused upon the customer rather than your presentation.) You may have the belief that you need to share all your knowledge to show your expertise. Watch out for this trap – the customer’s main focus is about “What’s In It For Me?”. Which is not about kickbacks or any unethical thing – it’s about: How can your solution benefit me within my company and position?
Use questions to uncover both business issues and personal (emotional) issues. Then show how your solution will improve these issues – after you have completed the questioning process. What is the questioning process? It’s all asking a complete package of questions that cover all the issues, consequences, and benefits (in their words not yours). This information gives you the competitive advantage in your offer.
Finally, the benefits to you for using a questioning model rather than a presentation model. First, you win more business. Second, you gain valuable rapport with the customer. Third, you are placed at a higher level than vendor or supplier – you become an advisor to the customer. Fourth, you gain more confidence in what you do and how you do it. You are creating a “Winner’s Edge.”
If you want to learn more about the Questioning Process contact me at 901-757-4434 or go to our Contact Us page on our main website. Ask about our workshop “the Fine Art of Questioning” for your sales team.