Simple Sales Tracking Blog

Where Are Your Questions Leading?

We have been looking at developing a questioning process for our presentations and how most salespeople are so desperate to talk about their products and services and all the solutions they can provide they end up talking too much and presenting solutions too soon therefore losing potential sales.

The trouble is the salesperson has seen the prospects problem many times before and therefore knows which solution would work best for them so jumps from problem straight to solution without helping the buyer to understand how big an issue they have.

There is only one perception that counts in a sales presentation – the buyers! We have to help them understand through our questions the need to take action. Asking the right questions will uncover the real issues and more importantly uncover the true buying motives of the prospect.

When I ask participants in my sales training workshops why they don’t ask more structured questions typical replies are –

“I don’t feel confident”
“I’ve never been trained”
“It takes too long”
“Prospects may be reluctant to answer”
“I’d be embarrassed”

The real result of a lack of structure in questioning is lost sales and increased costs of making sales.

Great questions require your prospects to think, they demonstrate your understanding of their needs, and they give you a clear picture of your prospects exact needs which in turn positions you to present the best possible solution.

Old sales training used to focus on only using open questions – questions that require a greater response answer as opposed to closed questions – questions that only require a yes or no answer.

Project Sigma sponsored by IBM and other corporations and conducted by Neil Rackham and his team observed over 35,000 sales calls in 23 countries found that calls high in closed questions were just as likely to lead to orders and advances. This is not so strange as it may at first appear. In theory, open questions result in open answers, while closed questions produce one-word answers. But in practice, this is not always the case. In the context of a sales call, 60 percent of all closed questions receive an answer that is longer than one word. In other words, closed questions very often get open answers. And about 10 percent of all open questions get a closed answer. The important thing is to ask skillful questions that move the call forward. “If you are worrying about things like how many open questions you’re asking”, Neil says, “You’re rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship. What you should be worrying about is: Are your questions focused on issues that are important to the customer?”

If you only ever buy one book on selling I would recommend that book be SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham. Neil has lead the revolution in selling. The key of course is to then read it and take action.

Structured questions channel the buyers thinking and help THEM tick off their own buying signals in their mind as the interview progresses.

I’ll deal more with the question of questions in the next article.

Quote of the Week:
“Generally speaking you aren’t learning much if your lips are moving”

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

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , ,

Telerik TV Features Simple Sales Tracking

View the hour long session with Carl Franklin at: 

About Telerik TV

Telerik TV is a virtual library of showcase videos dedicated to applications built with Telerik’s development tools and components. Designed to educate and inspire the .NET community, Telerik TV offers product deep-dives, innovative tips, and other helpful information by Telerik customers who share their know-how and experience with our products.
Carl Franklin, a host of the wildly popular mp3 talk show .NET Rocks, is also hosting the Telerik TV series.

Filed under: Buzz and Reviews,

Attention Developers: Web API Now Available!

June6, 2008

We’re pleased to announce the immediate availability of the Simple Sales Tracking Web API.

The API, Application Programming Interface, gives you the ability to extend and access the functionality of the application and your data stored in it.

While the API was built using Microsoft’s new WCF technology, the API can be used on many different platforms and different software languages. Keep in mind leveraging the API requires a good understanding of software development knowledge and practices.

As an example, the API was used to tie together the new Outlook 2007 Plugin to the Simple Sales Tracking application. There are many ways and reasons why you may want to look at doing this.
Not only is accessing the API at the transport level secure using 128bit SSL encryption, each message is also individually secured using mesage level certificate security.

As always, if you have any questions or feedback on this new availability, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Please keep in mind the API is available only to Full (Paid) Account Customers.

Filed under: Integrations, New Features, ,


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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