Simple Sales Tracking Blog

Do You Always Uncover the Buyer’s Needs?

Following on from the last time when we looked at the introduction phase of the sales interview.

Today I would like to focus on uncovering the buyer’s needs through the use of structured questioning.

For many salespeople who deal mainly with enquires coming in this seems rather straight forward i.e. the buyer states the need, asks for the solution, then the price. The trap of course is we give them a price without further exploration of their needs and if we are not the cheapest then quite often we miss the sale.

The other scenario is we are referred to a prospect who already has a supplier of our product or service and may be happy with them. The traditional sales process would look something like the following –

1. Introductions/Pleasantries
2. Find Common Interests
     . Clients we work with
     . Agencies we have
     . Our experience with similar business
3. A few questions to uncover needs
4. Present Solution
5. Offer of Proposal
Look familiar?

Our goal is to uncover the buyers need – No need = no sale, or a gap in what they are currently getting.

It is important to remember you are wanting the buyer to do one of the hardest things any of us face- to make a “change” – this could be from their current supplier or their way of doing things.

To achieve this you need to meet a number of objectives –

1. Establish trust – If the prospect doesn’t trust you they will not reveal their true needs to you. No Trust = No Sale
2. Uncover the need you can provide a solution for – No Need = No Sale
3. Establish the true size of need. This establishes a return on investment in the buyers mind and creates urgency to act. No ROI = No Urgency = No Sale
4. Elicit an invitation from the prospect to present your solution.

This is best done through asking good prepared questions.

Your questions create not only the reasons to change but also the urgency for your solution.

In structuring your questions you need to understand the different levels of buyer needs – this we will look at in my next article.

Quote of the Week:

Every sale has five basic obstacles:
no need, no money, no hurry,
no desire, no trust

Zig Ziglar

Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group Ltd

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , , ,

Questioning To Build Trust

Following on from last time we are looking at the importance of developing questions.

Many of us feel the need to build credibility and trust through telling the prospect all about what we have done and what great companies we work for however asking the right questions achieves the same goal. It is most important to spend time planning the questions as more sales are lost through asking the wrong questions than are lost because of not having the best price.

There are two more key areas that relate to asking good questions –

3. Good questions build relationships

The act of asking good questions shows that you care about the person and his/her problems. The more questions you ask about your customer, the more he/she feels your interest.

The law of reciprocity indicates that the more interest you show in a customer, the more likely that customer will be interested in you.

Did you ever attend a reception or party and meet someone who was very interested in you? Asked you question after question about yourself? When you parted, you thought to yourself “What a great person”. Why did you think that? Because of what he/she said? Probably not. You thought the person was wonderful because he/she expressed interest in you! And you formed that impression because of the questions they asked of you.

You can make use of this principle by asking good personal questions of your customers and thereby building strong relationships.

I also recommend you take good notes.

4. Good questions convey the perception of your competence

In other words, your customer sees you as competent and trustworthy – not necessarily by what you say – but rather by what you ask.

Here’s an illustration. Suppose you have a problem with your car. You take it into the mechanic down the street and say to him – “My car is making a funny sound” and he says to you “OK, leave it here and pick it up at five”.

You’re not reassured by his approach so you take it to the mechanic across the street. You say the same thing to him and he says to you “What kind of sound? You reply “A strange thumping sound”. And he says “Is it coming from the front or the back of the car?”. And you say, “It’s coming from the front.” And he asks, “Is it a metallic kind of sound or a rubber kind of sound?” And you reply, “It’s definitely metallic” And he says, “Does it go faster when you go faster and slower when you go slower, or is it the same speed all the time?” You respond, “It definitely speeds up as I do.” Then he says “OK leave it here and pick it up at five”.

Which mechanic seems to be the more competent? That’s easy. Obviously, the one who asked more questions. Questions show you understand your prospects problems which in turn builds your credibility.

Got the idea? The focus and precision of your questions does more to give your customer the perception of your competence than anything else.

Every one of your customers wants to feel that the salesperson he/she is dealing with is competent. You convey that perception by asking good questions about the details of your customer’s needs and applications.

Mastering the use of good questions is the salespersons single most powerful interpersonal tool – in every aspect of your sales interactions will dramatically improve your results.

A word of caution, remember what I said at the start – just as the right questions build your credibility asking the wrong questions can just as easily destroy it hence the need to plan your questions – do you homework – do your pre-planning before you ever make the call.

Quote of the Week –

“Price is always an issue if you look and sound like every other salesperson”

In my next article I will look at mistakes to avoid in your sales presentations.

Have a successful week!

BRETT BURGESS is a sales trainer and programme developer for Moss and Associates International.

Filed under: Sales Techniques and Strategy, , , , ,


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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