In continuing with our focus on sales basics this week, we will build upon the last two days’ articles about sales prospecting and presentations, and today discuss sales questions specific to a B2B situation, but can be easily revised for any sales situation. But first, let’s begin with my Question of the Week.
How important is it for an entrepreneur to be proficient in presenting and selling?
I’d really appreciate your feedback. So please, share your comments, insight and perspective in the comments section below.
As we dive back into the sales conversation, let’s start with the infamous scene from what I believe is one of the best “sales” movies, Glengarry Glenn Ross. As you’re responding to today’s Question of the Week, I’d love to understand your perspective about this scene. *Please pardon the language and some phrases that are definitely not politically correct in any sense imaginable today.
Questions Set the Stage for a Successful Sales Outcome
Prepare, in advance, the questions to be asked when actually get face to face with the prospect. Of course, every selling situation is unique, and every selling situation requires some variation, but certain basic questions that come up in every sales situation can be planned in advance.
With careful planning them, all bases can be covered. Wording must be precise. There is one caution – words must be phrased in such a way that they won’t sound canned.
Ask As Many Open-Ended Questions as Possible
Closed questions that call for a “yes” or “no” answer tend to discourage people from talking, to give only limited information, and they tend to set a negative tone. During the probe (the questioning) step of most selling systems, primarily open-ended questions that require prospects to express how they feel, what they want, or what they think are essential to the process. There is always room for “yes” or “no” questions, but caution must be exhibited to not to use too many or to use them incorrectly. Now is not the time to try out words not yet fully understood.
Ask Needs-Based Questions
In the probe phase, key is to get the prospect talking. His or her needs (or desires) must be addressed. Therefore, questions must phrase to gain insight into how the prospects perceive their needs (and desires).
Ask Questions That Help Identify Problems That Need to Be Solved
Usually there’s one overriding problem that needs to be resolved in the prospect’s mind – a situation that can be understood by asking the right questions. Plus, with proper pre-call planning and strong internal advocacy, a glimpse of the problems can be identified early on.
Ask Questions That Help Pinpoint the Dominant Buying Motivations
Buying motivations and needs are not always the same. Buying motivations have to do with desires, feelings, tastes and so on. Look for tell-tale signs – hot buttons.
Avoid Offensive Questions or Asking Questions in An Insensitive Way
Certain types of questions can offend prospects and cause them to back away. Here are some examples of pitfalls to avoid:
Don’t use leading or “set up” questions such as “You do want to make a profit, don’t you?” What’s the prospect going to say…”No, I don’t?!”
Probe don’t pry. Nosy questions can be a real turnoff.
Be careful about phrasing. For example, instead of asking “How much can you afford to spend?” you could phrase it a little more positively: “How much had you planned to invest?”
Ask Questions That Are Easy to Answer
Questions that require knowledge the prospect doesn’t have can often make him or her feel stupid. For example, asking most consumers, “What’s the maximum wattage per channel on your amplifier?” might get you a dumb look for an answer. The smarter the prospects are made to feel, the smarter they’ll think the salesperson is and the more they’ll like them.
Use Questions to Guide the Interview & Keep the Tone Positive
Some people love to ramble on and on, but by skillfully using questions, the interview will remain focused on point and move in the right direction. Also, questions should be asked in such a way that will solicit responses in a positive manner. Studies have shown that most people much prefer to agree than to assert themselves and disagree. In other words, the goal is to make it easy to say “yes.”
Ask – and Then Listen
The prospect can’t talk while also trying to listen. Besides, it’s hard for the salesperson to learn while they’re talking. Every word said by the prospect must be quickly grasped while staying aware of speech tone, body movement and facial expressions that may accompany the spoken word. Remember, people can be talked into buying, but listening and responding accordingly, keeping things about the prospect will create a buying experience the prospect will feel confident they made the right decision instead of being pushed to make a decision. One they may regret after the fact,
Shifting Gears… Against All Odds!
Anytime that you believe your business ideas are a long shot, think about 2022 Kentucky Derby Winner, Rich Streak who won against 80-1 odds. As long as you’re diligent in your preparations and as opportunities present themselves, a little bit of luck will go a long way. After all, luck is nothing more than opportunity meeting preparedness.
Have a great day. Make it happen. Make it count!