This is a great article and I am glad that you articulated the idea of probing beyond the first answer you get from a client, rarely is that the level long lasting client relationships are built. If a client seems focused on quality it might not be the true concern deeper issues may be "fear of getting burned" "looking bad for making a wrong purchasing choice." Selling on that level is what makes the difference for the client.
Bring your sales into the new millennium
"Consultative Selling" doesn’t work any more. It’s out of date and not very effective in our new era of more information, technology, and greater time and financial demands. Time to modernize your sales technique, and get more clients right now...
One of the most powerful things you can do in your business is to ask a lot of great questions. As I mentioned in the last article, this will empower employees, foster growth, increase the quality of decision making, improve relationships and take you as well as your team to a new level of effectiveness.
What it will also do for those that are charged with sales, is well... charge your sales. And for those of you not in a pure “sales” role, keep in mind that all of us sell ideas, concepts and other intangible things every day, both personally and professionally.
For a long time, salespeople were seen as “talking heads” just presenting information on their product or service. The faster they could talk and the more information they could spit out, the better their chances of closing the deal. This worked well until buyers picked up on the strategy, and “fast-talking salesmen” became a catch phrase for salespeople that no one wanted to do business with.
Then came “consultative selling.”
This method integrated probing questions to identify the prospect’s needs. It included questions like: How long do you have before you need to upgrade? What is your biggest concern about your current supplier? What would you primarily use this system for?
It seems pretty straightforward. Ask questions then do a sales presentation of the solution you offer that best meets the needs of the customer.
But today’s consumers are smarter, more familiar with different options, and have access to much more information.
And people don’t want to be ‘sold to’ any longer.
Instead, they want to be empowered to make a buying decision that will be in their own best interest. And who can blame them?
“Coaching the sale” or “coaching the client” to make the best decision possible for them is the next phase. Actually, it’s really a paradigm shift, because your highest priority with this process is to be of service to a prospect, not to close the deal. Sound confusing?
Let me explain...
There are two forces at work. Consumers have grown weary of sales professionals, and more importantly, they don’t buy based on needs any more. People buy based on their wants.
Don’t believe me?
How many of us eat fast food? Why do people smoke or drink? Don’t most of us know that driving our cars is ruining the planet? Yeah… I know, I’m guilty too. And we try to change because we know these are bad, but...
With so many choices, we still generally do what we want, even if it’s not what we need.
How do we find out customers’ wants?
By asking probing questions to uncover those wants and digging deep to find out the reasons behind them: their motivations, fears, and even philosophies.
People don’t often answer a question directly the first time because their REAL wants are very personal. We don’t like to reveal ourselves to people that we don’t know, let alone someone that probably has an agenda to sell us something. This brings us to another important point that you’ve probably heard before:
People buy from those that they know, like and trust.
So how can you get someone to know, like and trust you? Become a trusted advisor. An advisor asks a lot of questions and uses those questions to learn more about the other person.
Identify what they want, what they believe in and what they are seeking. Then think about what you can provide – resources, connections, ideas, support, or one of the products you offer if there is a genuine fit. As someone that cares about them and wants them to succeed, you’ll be helping them out tremendously.
Here are a few good questions to ask potential clients and networking partners as you get to know them: · What could be the best outcome for you? · What is your biggest challenge right now? · What would make you really happy in this situation? · What do you want to accomplish here? · Why is that important to you? · What would it really mean to you, professionally and personally?
These may sound like very similar questions but many times it’s by asking closely related questions in different ways that get you to the REAL answer.
So, as a sales person, you need to ask questions to find out what your prospects really want. How else can you help them create the best outcome?
And even when you don’t close the sale, you will gain a reputation for helping others beyond doing what’s in it for you. As a result, your networks will grow and as well as your reputation.
People will want to work with you and buy from you when there’s a good fit. And they will want to tell others about you as well.
So let me ask you...
What would happen if you asked more questions to potential customers? How would it increase your effectiveness and get more people to like and trust you?
Give them more opportunities to talk and yourself more opportunities to listen. You will learn more and be more successful for it.
All the best, Jason
Learn more about the author, Jason Rosado.
Comment on this article
Posted by Ben Friberg, Portland, Oregon |
Aug 03, 2008
- small business
- business growth