What 10 questions should every great sales person ask?

soldIn 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:

 

  1. Ask
  2. Listen
  3. Re-affirm (show that you’ve heard what they say… sometimes as simple as just repeating back to them what they’ve told you).
  4. 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.

And finally…

 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.

Happy selling!

laura-signature

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

 

Business tip #85 – For the best sales person for your business, look in the mirror

Here’s a question many business owners grapple with as they contemplate their growth goals… “Should I hire a business development/sales person?”

My answer is usually ‘no’.  And here’s why…

Typically you know your business better than anyone else.  You are more passionate about your product or service than anyone else.  You have more at stake than anyone else.  You probably can’t afford someone senior enough to target the bigger clients you really need in order to create significant growth.  You are the one that needs to be out there moving and shaking and creating relationships with prospective clients.  You are the one who can get into see the senior people in the business companies.  Why?  Because you are the owner and you are the best.

Bringing in ‘sales’ people is a good idea if you have a simple, saleable commodity and your business planning clearly shows a sales force as part of your overall strategy.  But if you are selling services and you want to land good sized long term contracts (which should be one of your growth strategies by the way), then you are the one to lead the way.

You are better to hire more people to deliver the service so that you can get out there and bring home more bacon, than you are to stay in the office hoping someone more junior to you will do the selling work for you.

If you want some advice on this subject, feel free to email me at laura@liber8yourbusiness.com

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.

 

Business Mentor tip #82 – How to save money attracting new clients without cold calling

Another great sales tip from guest entrepreneur Mike Brunel

With the cost of acquiring new customers mounting, many companies’ customer bases are shrinking, due to loss of confidence of advertisers and consumers alike.

What you will learn in this month’s Sales tip is the secret to understanding the power of client’s referrals.

Referrals are often one way to get your additional sales without too much additional work.

 

Why ask for a referral?

  1. It cuts down your prospecting time – The traditional way to build new prospects is to cold call. With referrals it can basically eliminate cold calling forever.
  2. It builds trust – If you get a referral from a client you work with, then that is a signal to you that they trust you, they are prepared to put their faith in you with another friend or business acquaintance.
  3. Helps you build a network – The buzz word these days is networking, this may be true, but by creating a referral programme with your advertisers you have a built in network at your fingertips.

What is a referral?

A referral is when one of your existing advertisers provides the name and contact information of another advertiser. In my experience, and there are also studies to prove this, this is the one area that most sales people fall down in.

3 types of referrals

There are basically three simple referrals systems we use, I will outline what they are and then talk about how you can action one straight away, today.

  1. Direct Referrals
  2. Direct Endorsement
  3. Implied Endorsement/Referral

 DIRECT REFERRALS

I am going to discuss direct referrals in this blog and touch on the other two in the near future.

A direct referral is a request to your clients to direct you to a potential client who they know that may also like your services. It’s an endorsement, a reference from a client to another friend or business. This is usually the most common form of referral and usually the easiest.

Most sales people and business people  understand this one – many use it sporadically and often by chance.

 3 ACTION STEPS

Here are 3 action steps to get a direct referral that will increase your call rate and closure rate very quickly.

  1. Choose your top 10 clients you want to target. In other words who are you going to ask for a referral?
  2. Set a time every day to go and ask those clients the following using these scripts as a guide

“I’m building up my client list and I wanted to get a referral from you. When we met last you said that you were pleased with my work. I’d really appreciate it if you’d pass my name along to anyone else you know who would be interested in _____________ (what you do). May I leave these extra business cards with you?”

or:

“I’m really glad that you’re pleased with my work. I’m always looking for referrals and wonder if you know anyone else in your circle of business acquaintances who might be interested in marketing or promoting their business as well as I have for your business.”

TIP: Be specific with tying down the client’s area of influence. It’s no use asking a client something like “Is there anyone you know?” it’s too big a circle to think about. Get really specific.

With any scripts make them your own. George Clooney uses scripts but once he is familiar with the content he makes it his own.

3.  The final step is to create this system for your top 10 clients, businesses you deal with over a 30 day period. This will set a habit in place that will most certainly benefit you for the long term. Once you do that with your top ten, then move onto your next ten, and so on and so on.

TAKE ACTION!

It’s time to ACT: Here is what to do right now to get an immediate result. Call two clients and let them know that you will be coming to see them for a referral. Mentally visualise them giving you that referral. Write the goal in your diary or on your weekly planner.

Remind yourself every day that your goal to more sales and easier closing rates are referrals.

Is there anyone you know that would like to get more information on how to be a great media salesperson? Please feel free to refer them to wwww.talkingmediasales.com.

­­Good selling, Mike

Mike Brunel is a director of a number of companies both in New Zealand and worldwide which specialise in generating sales revenue for television newspaper and radio stations. NRS Media operates in over 65 markets throughout New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada and Europe. Their simple sales concepts have generated in excess of US$900 million. Mike is a phenomenal sales person, as well as a stimulating and relatable trainer. Contact him at mike.brunel@talkingmediasales.com Mike offers a limited private consultancy for selected clients. For more information contact trishs@maygrovemanagement.co.nz

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Business Mentor tip # 80 – The incredible power of partner marketing… and how to sell glasses to people who don’t need them!

No problem with the marketing vision for the folk at Specsavers.  Not only do they have a very funny ad campaign – the ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ series (my favourite is the father on the finishing line of school kids running race where he thinks the kid who comes first is his and goes crazy hugging him, while his own son plods up last).  They also do some clever stuff with their marketing and sales strategies behind the scenes.  On Friday I got an email from AA (automobile not alcohol version) offering me a free sight test with Specsavers plus $50 of their two for one deals.  I started needing glasses for reading a year or so ago and whilst being content with my $50 pair of reading specs from the pharmacy, I thought an eye test could be a good idea.  So I booked in and today went for my test, which was very thorough and examined my eyes from every angle as well as my near and far vision.

The good news for me is that my eyes are very healthy, my vision is pretty good for an old gal and the cheapo pharmacy readers are all I really need.

The good news for Specsavers is I spent $319 on two new pairs of reading glasses.  Well, it was $50 off a $299 two for one deal.  Plus of course I needed to spend the $70 on non-reflective coating naturally.  I walked out of there somewhat dazed yet bemused by my own shopaholic tendencies. Good eyesight does not necessarily equate to good judgement obviously.

However, I was impressed at the marketing process that got me to spend this money on items I didn’t need.  Let’s just recap:

Firstly the email from AA offering a free eye test.  Specsavers have clearly have a partnership arrangement with this organisation, which has opened up one of the largest databases in New Zealand to them.

Then the offer of $50 off.  I didn’t need to buy glasses.  I was told as much by the professional who tested my eyes.  But she did guide me towards the rack showing the lovely range of glasses they had, whilst telling me how much I’d enjoyed the extra comfort of an anti-glare coating.  It was hard to resist.  I mean $50 off.  Come on.  And the $299 options did look so much nicer than the $199 ones…

And to top it all off, the sales.  Oh the sales.  Yes by all means look at those ones, but have you seen these ones.  And are you sure you don’t want anti-glare coating?  Let me show you the difference, take a look through these glasses.  One lens has the coating the other doesn’t. Have a look in the mirror.  What a difference!  Of course I bloody want the coating. Bring it on.

Sold to the lady with the trembling credit card!

Well done Specsavers on a job well done. Am so looking forward to a life without glare and the best looking readers in the cafe next week!

 

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies. 

 

Business Mentor Tip #73 – If you build it will they come? @drrobadams

 “If you build it will they come?” is the title of a new book by Rob Adams.  I attended a workshop taken by Rob last week and was impressed enough to make it my next business mentor tip.  Forgive me Rob if my interpretation of your material in any way undersells it!

The key to successful business is having a product or service that enough people will buy to meet your financial targets.  Many (dare I say most) business start out with what Rob calls the ‘ready, fire, fire,fire, aim’ approach which typically goes like this.  Think of a product/service idea that you think people will love, get it ready for market, dress it up in the way you believe your target audience will find attractive and then attempt to sell it.  When sales don’t meet targets you re-visit your sales strategy and try again.  And again.  Sound familiar?

Well think again.  Surely a way to increase your chances of selling people what they want will increase if you ask them what they want and then deliver it to them in the way they want to receive it?  Or in other words as Rob Adams says … ‘ready, aim, fire’.

This is called market validation.  In essense this means that you go out to your market and find out what their problems are first.  Then you develop the product or solution that will meet those problems better than anything else out there.  You get it right before you invest in development and marketing.  It sounds so logical doesn’t it?

So how do you validate your market?  In Rob’s book ‘If you build it will they come?” he takes you through the methods and steps involved.  But before you rush off and buy it, I’ll share the tip he gave us at the workshop:

Before you launch anything new – a new product or service/a new brand or a new campaign – call up 100 people who represent your target market and ask them what they really need.   In Business Mentor Tip #63 – Gather Your Insights I gave you a list of questions that a someone developing a new business planning tool might ask.

In these questions you are looking for the problem to solve.  What frustrates people?  What annoys them with current options?  What are they trying to do that your product or service could make easier for them?  It’s all about easing pain.  Find the pain and offer the solution.  Ask questions that give you meaningful answers to help design your products and marketing campaigns to meet the need.

The added bonus is that people will pay more for something that makes them feel better.  If you can give them what they really want, they are happy to pay for it.

So… as you think about your product development and marketing from now on, remember, Ready, Aim, Fire!

You can buy your copy of Rob’s book here: http://www.amazon.com/You-Build-Will-They-Come/dp/047056363X

 

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

10 things you need to know about sales this week

Welcome to guest entrepreneur and salesman extraordinaire Mike Brunel for some more of his always useful tips on sales.  Enjoy…

1. Create a sales culture– In Laura’s upcoming book she talks about creating a great sales culture- it has to however begin with you changing your mind set around being committed to turning your company into a sales machine and not a hobby machine.

2. Train, train train- – According to the Harvard Business review, only 10 percent of the population has what’s  called “the learning mind set” These are the people who love to learn. Too many businesses fail to train and only do it when there is a crisis. Train your team or be derailed. In economic times like these,  products knowledge is critical.

3. Prospect for new business – prospect for new business 2 ½ hours a day. This is what one trainer told me recently, if you are a business how you are prospecting? This is often too hard for many businesses but it is critical to being successful.

4. Conduct regular workshop with your staff- get them to present a new product to the rest of the team. Ask each salesperson on your team to suggest some training and product presentation ideas.

5. Qualify the Buyer- what is their need, if you sell a product and have actually sold quite a few of them, why did those customers buy? They must have some sort of need satisfied. What was it? Are you asking them?

6. Build value into your business– Value is the secret sauce to everything. If you can add some type of value and not just be price driven then you will create more sales long term.

7. Are you a price seller- if that strategy works for you then great, in many cases businesses think it is all about the price? I think it is about the story you present. A story about your product sells why?

8. What is your story- If you focus on price then people will choose the price and not the person. If you position a story about all the great things your product does, then maybe, just maybe, the buyer might just be thinking.” I like this person I might buy them”

9. Become an expert – An expert gives me something, something that I can use. If you are perceived as an expert in your field then it puts you ahead just a bit of your competitors.

10. Finally, anticipation and reaction. If you start to anticipate what is going to happen then you a not a slave to crisis or reaction.

Mike Brunel is a director of a number of companies both in New Zealand and worldwide which specialise in generating sales revenue for television newspaper and radio stations. NRS Media operates in over 65 markets throughout New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada and Europe. Their simple sales concepts have generated in excess of US$900 million.
Mike is a phenomenal sales person, as well as a stimulating and relatable trainer.
Contact him at mike.brunel@talkingmediasales.com
Mike offers a limited private consultancy for selected clients. For more information contact trishs@maygrovemanagement.co.nz

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Business Mentor Tip #66 – No is spelt with a K

This tip comes directly from my book in progress, from the chapter on sales written together with Mike Brunel (www.talkingmediasales.com).

When someone says ‘no’ you can tell yourself that what they are really saying is that they want to ‘know’ more. What they are really telling you is that you haven’t convinced them yet.  Maybe you haven’t covered everything you needed to for them to make a decision.  You could find ways at this point to get them to be more specific about why they are saying no.  95% of sales people give up after the first no because it plugs directly into their fear of rejection.  But if you are passionate about your product or service and you genuinely believe the prospect will be better off with it, there is no reason to be frightened of the word no.  ‘No’ is really spelt ‘know’ and you can leave the door open to another visit or call with more information for the client.  And remember, every no takes you closer to a yes.

 

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business Mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Guest business mentor tips – 10 things you need to know about sales this week

Look out for regular guest mentor tips from now on as I call upon experts from all specialist fields of business to share their top tips with you. Today I welcome these tips on sales from one of the best sales people I know, Mike Brunel.

 

10 things you need to know about sales this week….


1. Everyone is a salesperson. Everyone is in sales, we just do not realise it. Have you ever tried to convince your partner that you want chinese food and she or he wants Italian? Whoever wins that discussion employs all the skills that great salespeople use.
2. Presenting face to face is better than doing it by email. Do not hide behind email, get out and meet your customers, face to face selling is not dead. Email is often an easy way to hear a no from a client.
3. Closing is never over until your client dies or goes out of business. Closing a sale is really the beginning of a sale, unless you are in the business like selling TV and electronic products where you may never see the client, the sale actually begins when the client says YES.
4. There is no such thing as a No- think of it as a KNOW- the client wants to know more. Too many salespeople give up after the first no… All your client is saying to you is… I want to know more.
5. Telling your clients that you are the best is not their concern- solving their problem is. So many sales people think it is about them. Big mistake. It’s about the customer stupid!
6. People want the unusual-are you? What makes you any different from the 50 salespeople your clients see every week? What makes you different?
7. Wealth is in the list. Work your client list; the regulars are the first to target with up sells and your lapsed clients next.
8. You will not win if you follow the crowd. If you are in too broad category you will be like everyone else. What make you the best in your field?
9. Cheating in school is call marketing in the real world. Learn from others, if there is a good idea you think you can use from another field adapt it and then use for your industry.
10. Sit with your client or vendor for the day and see how they do it. When was the last time you went out with your client, or worked in their store for the day, or ran a focus group with your clients if you own a business?
Mike Brunel is a director of a number of companies both in New Zealand and worldwide which specialise in generating sales revenue for television newspaper and radio stations. NRS Media operates in over 65 markets throughout New Zealand, Australia, US, Canada and Europe. Their simple sales concepts have generated in excess of US$900 million.
Mike is a phenomenal sales person, as well as a stimulating and relatable trainer.
Contact him at mike.brunel@talkingmediasales.com
Mike offers a limited private consultancy for select clients. For more information contact trishs@maygrovemanagement.co.nz

 

From the desk of liber8yourbusiness.  Business mentors and experts in small business exit strategies.  Based in Wellington, New Zealand