In sales you should be listening for 80% of the time and talking for 20%. If you ask the right questions, you will find out your prospect’s real needs and find a way to sell your product/service as the solution. When selling, follow the steps below with every question:
- Re-affirm (show that you’ve heard what they say… sometimes as simple as just repeating back to them what they’ve told you).
- Provide solution
The following exercise helps you prepare your check list of 10 questions to take to your sales meeting/call with you. Promise yourself to ask ALL of the questions.
Questions 1 – 6: Uncover needs
Ask open questions (note: open questions typically begin with a ‘w’ – what, who, when, why?) to discover how your prospect feels about their current situation. Find out who your competition is and what they are doing right/wrong. Find out the frustrations your prospect has.
Write down 6 ‘needs based’ questions relevant to your product or service. Here are some samples:
Would you mind telling me about your current situation?
Who do you currently use for this service?
What’s working for you?
What’s not working?
What are your main frustrations?
What would you like to change about things?
Question 7: Invitation question
This is where you ask your prospect if they’d like to know more about how you could answer their needs.
Here’s the example invitation question:
“From what you’ve told me, it sounds like (your offer) could really make a difference to you. Would you like me to give you a brief description of how it works?
Have your description ‘sales pitch’ ready. As soon as you get the go ahead, give a brief, concise and enthusiastic description of your product/service (trying to steer it towards the needs you have just uncovered).
Question 8: Leading question
Here you are leading your prospect to an affirmative response to your final offer. It goes like this:
“Does this sound like something that can solve your problems/make you feel better/address your issues?”
Questions 9 and 10: The most important questions of all … asking for the sale
The last questions you should ask should be the ‘close’ or ‘asking for the order’ questions. You start with a positive clarification statement then quickly follow with a way the client can buy from you. These are the questions you must make yourself ask. You are not allowed to leave a sales meeting or call without asking for the order!
Make sure you have a way of taking their order/letting them pay with you. It’s often a good idea to offer them a choice…
“I feel really good about this, I know this is going to work well for us. What’s the best way to get things underway? I could email you an order when I get back to the office… or I could just get it from you now. What works best for you?”
Notice there are two questions in one. The first implies you are going to make the sale now. And the second gives the client choice on how to do it.
If it isn’t appropriate or possible to ask for a sale there and then, be ready with to make an agreement with them of another sort. Offer to send them something – to do something helpful for them, and make sure you follow up with it the minute you get back to your desk.
Asking these questions doesn’t mean you have to come across as pushy – no one wants to be that. So have fun, be friendly, get to know the person and walk away feeling that you’ve had a really good chat. If you’ve asked all the questions on your list, you will know so much about them and even if you can’t get the sale immediately, you will be able to build a good plan to win them over time.
PS. The above is an excerpt from my new book “The Liber8 Disciplines: A hands on guide to mastering the eight most important skills in business” To be released soon.
From the desk of Liber8me. Business mentors and publisher of Liber8 your Business: The revolutionary business planning technique that will set every small business owner free