The first issue with asking prospective clients questions is: Do YOU have the inclination to do so? Many people go right into a discussion of their capabilities or products, their company, etc. without enough “discovery” taking place. I like the adage that anyone who goes into a presentation without performing some needs-analysis first is NOT a professional!
The next question for us to consider is: Are we asking good questions that are relevant? Gone are the days when we asked customers “Do you need anything today?” The more creative and in-depth the question, the more elaborative and in-depth the answer. Here are a couple of categorical examples of what we might ask today:
Competitive Leverage Questions: “In your annual review meeting with your existing vendor, did they put new ideas on the table for performance improvement or cutting edge solutions to your problems?”
Front-loaded Open-ended Questions: “In light of your industries improvement trends, how do you plan to alter your inventory counts?
Pain-Point Questions: “You mentioned in our last visit that the quality of product components had become a major issue for your company. Have mandates from upper management come through for fixing these problems as yet?”
Close-Ended Questions: “When do you anticipate that a decision will be made on the proposal we have on the table with you?”
Questions on Complex Issues: “I understand there are four people in your decision loop – Do you have specific suggestions as to how I might be able to ask them some needs analysis questions as well?”
Become a student of asking really good questions, and your performance will soar!
What happens when your longtime customer says they want you to cut your price? Forget that you’ve been servicing the account for years! Management has demanded that all departments cut costs, and a new competitor is angling for your business.
When you know how to sell value, price issues become less important to making the sale when you know what it really takes to be a deal maker without cutting into your profits!
The expert on selling value, Don Hutson has agreed to share his expertise for FREE on our new One Minute Success Series kickoff for 2015 happening Wednesday, April 22nd at NOON CST!
I was peacefully sitting in the den of my home on the Mississippi River this morning, sipping coffee and enjoying the morning paper, when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something meandering down river. It was the Delta Queen!
This old wooden paddle wheeler was mothballed a few years ago due to being a safety hazard, but I read recently where the owners got special clearance to transport it to New Orleans to be completely refurbished. I was thrilled to read that the old girl was being saved. It was in rough condition when I saw it this morning and being pushed by a tug and accompanying barge with parts, etc.
If we are going to separate ourselves from the competition in the eyes of our clients, we cannot be just another “me too” salesperson. We need to have a better sales approach.
I’d like to take you through the U.S. Learning model we refer to as“The 5 Stages in The Evolution of Selling.”The key today is to develop a“selling style”that customers are comfortable with, or we will be unable to build trust. We need to sell them in a way that increases the probability that they will get engaged with us, talk openly about their issues, opinions, and preferences. If we can get them talking and feeling comfortable with us, we have a great shot at getting an order and establishing a long term relationship.