15 Safe Questions to Ask Potential Customers

I have noted a common question coming my way from several new b2b sales people – all asking about what questions should they use with their potential customers?

Now the truth is you will need to prepare for each and every visit you make with a potential customer. Prepare your list of questions using information you find on the Internet, talking to other people in the organization, reviewing current industry trends, visit with other b2b sales people who sell into the industry and think about your experiences with other companies with similar focus.

Use all the information you can to narrow down the list of questions to be used. In fact, another tip is to create boxes of questions based upon different possibilities or themes relative to what you are selling.

Okay, here is the list of “safe” questions you can apply in most any situation – customer type, industry and product or services you sell…

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Drill Deep for More Information with Questions

Recently I had a few conversations with several b2b sales people who asked me about how can they get more information from their buyers or decision makers? As we discussed it, I felt most of these b2b sales people were taking the direct approach to questioning.

So what is the problem with a direct approach? Simply it means these b2b sales people are interjecting their own assumptions regarding answers they receive from their potential customers. Sorry, if this is all you do, you will leave valuable information untouched must less understood in order to provide a better solution.

The key is to use clarity questions which take the potential customer down a smooth path of helping you understand exactly what is happening at their organization.

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B2B Sales Presentations – When to Do It?

I’ve been getting a number of requests for information lately for how to do B2B Sales Presentations. Therefore, I will be adding some new information regarding b2b sales presentations over the next few weeks.

First, let me start by talking about When to do b2b sales presentations. There seems to be some confusion regarding the use of b2b sales presentations.

The best time to do a b2b sales presentation is never. Okay, you can quit screaming at the computer screen about how stupid that sounds.

Well, the truth is most of the average b2b sales people attempt to create a sale using the sales presentation as the tool for their success. Is it any surprise that this old school sales tactic has an extremely low success ratio?

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How to Delay Answering the “How Much Is It?” Question

One of the most discouraging questions a prospect or customer can ask you is the classic – How Much is It? or How Much Will This Cost Me? or What’s Your Best Price? – all before you are ready to discuss price.

GEEZ! Is there a secret code decision makers use to alert each other of a b2b sales person’s efforts to bring value to the table for establishing a fair price – a win-win for both parties?

While it could be you got in front of a fast paced individual who wanted to make a fast decision and needed a price for project comparison – OR – you could have run into some one who only wanted a reason to shoot down your offer since they knew who they really wanted to buy from at this time.

So, how do you delay the answer without aggravating the decision maker?

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Five Techniques to Improve Qualified Leads

Those of you who are regular readers of my b2b sales tips know I believe sales AND marketing should be tightly aligned in you want consistent increases in your b2b sales results.

Qualified Leads are one of the most important elements for improving sales results. Why? Because b2b sales people only have one precious thing to trade – their time. If a b2b sales person is chasing every lead they get without qualifying the lead – the b2b sales person loses their irreplaceable time they could have spent on a qualified potential customer.

Therefore, if Sales and Marketing are tightly aligned you will see these five techniques providing the majority of the new b2b sales leads…

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Building Rapport with Others is Important

Lately I have had some conversations with people who do not believe building rapport is important in today’s world of b2b selling.

Personally I feel these people are misguided and definitely unaware of the importance Rapport Building brings to the sales process. I believe it allows the b2b sales person to open more doors and gain more information than any other skill – with the exception of using the Questioning Model.

Rapport Building is all about building Trust with the customer and anyone else involved in the sales or delivery process. Trust is the foundation piece for everything else dealing with people and effective communication.

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B2B Sales Leaders Do Three Things All the Time – Do You?

B2B sales leaders are winners in their field of play. I sincerely believe they are playing a game they love, admire and are totally dedicated to being their best.

With that being said, what are the little things the b2b sales leaders do everyday that the other 80 to 90% fail to do?

Once you understand the qualities they have, you can make a decision to join their ranks – if you choose. This is the rub making the difference between the winners and the average to poor sales people. You make the choice to be a winner – you are not anointed by the sales manager, VP of Sales or the President of your company. You can control these essential qualities, so here they are…

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Product Pusher or Solution Puller – Which Are You?

This question is one of the more interesting questions I want answered when working with a sales person or a sales team.

Product Pusher or Solution Puller?

The answer lies based upon two factors…

  1. How much traditional sales training has a person had?
  2. What is the sales model for the organization?

When looking for one of these factors, it gives insight into how successful a b2b sales person will be – overall. Let take a closer look at what these two factors are actually telling us.

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Use Process Milestones for Accurate B2B Sales Forecasts

Recently I wrote about how to identify your b2b sales process and then identifying the major steps in the process – the sales milestones. These are important to you since they are like having a road map to gaining b2b sales success.

So in this b2b sales tips on sales forecasting, I will explain how to use the milestones to gain an accurate picture of your sales pipeline.

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B2B Sales is a Process Rather than an Event

Interestingly I am questioned frequently by b2b sales people and sales managers about how to make b2b sales work right every time.

Well, sometime the answer is not what they want to hear. “B2B Selling is simply a Process.”

Yet, the traditionally trained sales people and sales managers want it to be an event. You know what I mean here – make a single call, talk to a decision maker and get a contract!

Yes, it did work that way – back in the 50’s and 60’s when everything you could make was sold immediately. That was a special time in the world of selling. Basically all markets were being created at the time and growth was the name of the game. IF you could build it, you could sell it and sell it quickly.

Today is a totally different game. Due to things like the internet – which told away the sales person role as the holder of product knowledge – and global competition for products (as in cheaper.) we have a new set of challenges.

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