Questions Designed to Uncover the Decision Making Process

It appears to me there are many b2b sales people who are looking for a blueprint regarding what questions can I ask to uncover information. Since the decision making process is one of the most important piece of information to learn, I am providing a list of four good questions to ask.

Why is it important to understand the decision making process?

Because first you need to verify who will be making the decision. Second, you want to know about who could step in at the last minute and unravel all your previous hard work. And finally, how many people are going to be involved in the process. You may have to make more calls than you expected to insure a valuable decision.

Okay, so what are these four questions to ask? Here are my four favorites…

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Five Strategic Questions to Ask Your Customer

To join the ranks of the b2b sales superstars, you need to know more about your customers than your competition and in some cases even more than your customer knows about themselves. True b2b sales superstars are consistently told by executives “you know more about us than some of my direct reports.”

Being told by an top level executive – you know more about their company than others – is a sure path to gain immeasurable credibility with the decision maker. Therefore it is imperative you learn as much as you can about you customer.

One area I consider a vitality important area is their strategic position in the marketplace and how your customer ranks against their competition. This information gives you insight into the progressive or regressive nature of management decisions. Your customer’s ability to grow – thus growing your business – is critical to your success.

Therefore, here are five strategic questions to ask your customer in order to learn about how they are positioned within their industry and how the marketplace is recognizing their position…

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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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Stop Asking Detail Oriented Questions

Okay, seems some of your are still using your time with buyers or high level decision makers asking questions that are what I call Detail Oriented Questions. Stop It, Now! That is if you want to win more b2b sales opportunities. If you don’t care about your sales success then continue doing it.

So why am I on your case about this type of question? Well, two reasons come quickly to mind.

  1. You should not act like a regular sales person when meeting with a true high level decision maker. It is time there to have more of a discussion about success stories, current industry trends, or best practices to improve the enterprise.
  2. Detail oriented questions only help one person – YOU and not the person you are asking. In fact, you are creating a negative experience for yourself with a key person – because all the other sales people who call on this person ask the same useless questions that provide no thought or aha’s for the decision maker.

So what do you do to gather information about a prospect or customers. Here are a four suggestions…

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Is Your Experience Getting in the Way of B2B Sales Success?

Last week I ran across some older research about the impact of experience on our b2b sales performance. While it covered positive elements, it also showed me some interesting points about how it negatively impacts a b2b sales person’s performance.

The negative element was directed at our ability to ask the right types of questions in our sales process. And, you know I’m a big proponent of the role the Questioning Model has upon our overall success.

As I referred the information, I realized I was somewhat guilty of this research activity! Geez! As I reflected on the topic, I realized it was a subject that I needed to share with all my Developing B2B Sales readers. So here we go…

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Good Questions that Have Lost Their Value

Yes, I am a believer in the power of questions and highly recommend you developing a mastery in the art of questioning.

Why are questions so valuable?

Because they engage the customer or prospect to think about their operations – hopefully in a new way. Questions allow for the customer or prospect to self-discover answers and observations you had already uncovered, yet, using your smarts, had not told the decision maker. Instead you used questions to uncover the truths.

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B2B Sales Major Change Issue #3 – Presentation Model is Dead

Thia is part three of a five part series on major change issues for b2b sales. Today’s discussion will be on the third major issue of the movement away from the presentation model of b2b selling to the Questioning Model of B2B Selling.

I have been discussing the need for more and better uses of the Questioning Model during several b2b sales tips. Yet, again I believe it needs to be discussed continuously to show how important this is becoming.

The Questioning Model of B2B Selling is more important than ever and the presentation model of b2b selling is dying rapidly. Therefore, you must be better prepared to use the effective questioning, if you want to stay in the game of b2b sales.

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Show Your Expertise Using the Right Questions

I had a couple of questions from b2b sales people asking me about how to deal with the b2b buyers who seem to already have all the answers about their products and services. They wanted to know how to best respond to these types of b2b buyers.

Welcome to the world of the Internet and instant product knowledge research. This is becoming a hot topic these days for this very reason – b2b buyers know more about your products and the competitors products than every before.

The best method of dealing with this type of b2b buyer is to show your depth of knowledge and understanding by the use of better questions. Let’s call them the buyer acknowledgment questions.

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B2B Sales Tip – Make Buyers Think

Yes, I know this sound simplistic and somewhat demeaning. However, it is a major issue for many b2b sales people who want to agree with the buyers or be seen as the “nice” seller.

Well, welcome to reality 202. The reality is if you agree to everything, avoid tough or controversial questions or only ask simple “mind-numbing” questions – you lose!

In the world of b2b sales the world is fast paced, crazy time shortages, and attention spans calculated in nano seconds rather than minutes. It is up to the b2b sales person to take charge of getting the attention of the buyer.

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