Simple Sales Tracking Blog

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

By Brett Burgess

As we have discussed in previous articles closing or in our process confirming the sale should be the easiest part of your sales process if you have indeed followed a process to understand your buyer’s explicit needs.

The process I am talking about is all about asking a list of pre-prepared questions to get a full understanding of whether or not the person you are talking to has a real need for any solutions you may have to offer.

Most of us as salespeople ask plenty of questions anyway but they are usually self-serving to help us quickly find some sort of need so we can get on with “selling” our solution. Unfortunately the buyer recognizes these questions for what they are as they have heard them all before from 100 different salespeople and are therefore prepared with their stock standard objections.

The trouble with these types of questions is they do nothing to help you uncover buying motives which in turn inhibits your ability to progress the sale. They make you look like every other salesperson selling a similar product or service and if you look like everyone else then the buyer’s only determining point will be price and in this competition the most desperate salesperson usually gets the sale.

Another key issue is we don’t get the important information from the buyer to be able to adapt our solution specifically to our buyers needs. What we end up doing is prescribing before we have actually diagnosed the real problem or opportunity for the buyer. Imagine if you went to your Doctor and he asked you a few basic questions and then wrote a prescription without delving into the real symptoms of your problem. How confident would you be in his prescription?

Some of the more common questions you shouldn’t be asking include –

How long have you been in business?
Who are your key markets?
How many staff do you have?
Who is your current supplier?
What is your budget for.?

And some of the dumbest questions which you should never ask –

“Have you ever heard of us?” or “What do you know about our company?”

If you have to ask this question, it means you’re probably trying to make certain that your prospect has not had a bad experience with your company prior to your arrival. It’s not important whether they have heard of you before – you are not there to talk about yourself – you are there to identify their needs and talk about solutions. You can gain more credibility by asking intelligent questions than talking about what a great company you belong to and how long you have been in the industry or profession.

“Can you tell me a little bit about your company?”

This question shows your buyer that you were too lazy to bother doing any research on them. Don’t ask any questions that you could have researched prior to the meeting. When you ask buyers historical questions about themselves and their business there is no value to them and they see this as a waste of their time.

The key is to do your research, plan your questions and then follow your plan.

Quote of the Week:
It is better to choose what you say than say what you choose

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Moss and Associates International.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy,

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Simple Sales Tracking is web-based sales CRM software for the tracking, analysis and forecasting of individual and team sales pipeline and contacts.

Built with simplicity at its core, focus is kept on key sales tasks, while eliminating unnecessary ones, helping to ensure buy-in of the entire sales team.
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