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Don’t Act Like a Seller, Think Like a Buyer! Researching Customers’ Situations Problems or Challenges

Don’t Act Like a Seller, Think Like a Buyer

Chapter 5: Researching Customers’ Situations, Problems, or Challenges

“Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face.

You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” ­– Ross Perot

The best way to understand the situation is

to do your own research

before going to the client.

You need to be equipped

with some knowledge of their business,

so that you can start a conversation

and get to know more details about their business situation.

We need to discover exactly

what the prospect wants or needs.

Are they sure about that?

Is what they want to do serious

– or is it important to them?

Once you have started a productive conversation

and have had a real two-way exchange,

you need to start understanding the situation

/problem/challenge they are facing,

which is the next step

to according to the DELTA procedure.

The best way to do that is to ask questions.

Generally speaking,

salespeople have been trained year after year

to ask the right questions.

“What problems keep you awake at night?”

“How many trips does your company deliver per month?”

“Are you satisfied with the productivity

of the metal cutting machine you currently have?”

However, you should be careful how you ask questions

when learning about your customer’s challenges.

When Sean Feeney was VP of Sales

(now President and CEO – CEO – of Inovis,

a software company in Atlanta),

he once asked a senior executive of a company,

“What problems are you struggling with?”

The executive raged,

“Hey Sean, all your salespeople are reading the same book.

You all come here and want me to tell you my problem.

If I took the time to show your employees my problems,

I would never get the job done.

I kept hoping that

by the time you got here,

you had already understood my problems,

and just had to come up with solutions.”

Therefore, it is very beneficial

if you have an overview

of the situation/problem/challenges

that the customer may be facing.

Tim Wackel of The Wackel Group says,

“When looking to build relationships

with new clients as sales executives,

I try to visualize what is troubling them.

With or without specific information,

I can still make pretty good predictions.

As a former sales manager,

I know the common difficulties

that almost every sales manager has to go through.

If I can connect with them

by making them curious,

that’s a good start:

Is this the problem you’re having in your organization?

Because if that’s the case,

then we have a few ideas that have proven

to be very successful in practice,

and we would love to have the opportunity

to talk to you about these ideas.”

If it’s true that great sales deals happen

when we can get customers to want to talk to us,

it’s because of us,

or had to say something interesting,


or had to ask very good questions.

Most people can only focus their mind

for a relatively short time,

so it is not possible to listen

for long unless we engage them in some way.

Pre-recorded sales pitches rarely capture the customer’s attention,

while good questions can capture

and maintain customer interest.

Get most people to talk about themselves,

their businesses,

the problems they face,

and the challenges they’re facing

and you’ve got their attention.

And once you have that in place,

you’ll have a better understanding

of your prospect’s unique circumstances,

so you’ll know what problems are likely to plague them.

Take advantage of the productive dialogue you’ve created

to ask questions that will help you see

if there’s a good fit between what your prospect wants

and what you can offer.

In a sales conversation,

questions should have at least three of the following functions:

1. Good questions force people to think

2. Good questions to stimulate dialogue

3. Good questions to get information

Bad questions either make people uncomfortable

or try to force people to answer the salesperson.

Usually sales people ask questions

to elicit an answer to launch their story.

In that “stimulation strategy,”

salespeople ask a series of affirmative-sounding questions such as,

“If I could show you how to save $5,000 per month in shipping costs?” ,

Do you care?” Who dares say no?

In fact, customers often have a habit of saying “Yes”

to lead to an affirmative answer to a closed question.

But the bad news is that it can also seem forced

and annoying to sophisticated prospects

– and in this day and age,

prospects are more sophisticated than ever.

Before the first meeting,

You should have a list of questions the customer needs to answer

to decide if this customer is a good fit

for your product or service.

Questions should be structured

around your knowledge of your customers,

the market, and your unique position

as well as those of your competitors.

Before going to see someone,

I usually spend an hour (or two) brainstorming questions

I need answered to decide if the prospect is a good fit

for what I offer or not.

You have to create your own diagnostic tool,

which is a series of questions of your own.

Usually, salespeople will improvise.

So let’s take a closer look at the three factors

that define a good question.

“Become the person who would attract the results you seek.” – Jim Cathcart



Ideally, you want to ask questions that force people to think.

Inquiry is a powerful tool in sales and persuasion.

You don’t have to think too much

when someone asks you,

“Which country are you from?”

But it might take a moment

for you to think if someone asks,

“How do you feel about raising the Social Security age limit?”

Good questions give you an opportunity

to better understand

what your customers and prospects think,

and questions also give them a chance to form their own

(which in itself is very effective).

Many times we have asked questions about things

that people haven’t thought of before,

or they didn’t think about it the way we formulated the question.

Often the real power of the questions

we ask lies in whether they help people see

or think about things differently.

Northern Illinois University professor Dan Weilbaker says that

students in sales training programs

(like sales starters in general)

tend to think they already know what’s important to them,

with customers;

or assume,

they know what the customer is looking for

and what the customer needs without having

to engage in a conversation

or ask questions.

“That’s the saying ‘the book and the spine’:

You think you know the book

because you look at its spine.

For a beginner in sales,

or a student,

this is one of the biggest hurdles they need to overcome.

Due to their knowledge of the product,

they assume that they can make a sale

because they know what is important.

I think knowledge,

in and of itself,

is sometimes the culprit.”

Professor Dan said,

everyone agrees that product knowledge is necessary,

it is “capital” required to start contacting customers.

But it also becomes the culprit behind sales,

because it often drives seller behavior.

Salespeople sometimes feel they have product knowledge

so they know what’s important,

but customers don’t.

Professor Dan suggests a story about IBM:

“When IBM was selling a lot of hardware,

the new salespeople that came in drove up sales for 20 months,

and then suddenly stopped growing.

The company’s leaders tried to find the reason,

and eventually,

they realized that the salesmen,

after 20 months of work,

had so much knowledge about the product and other information,

that when they arrived at the customer’s brand,

they immediately show the customer

what can solve the customer’s problems.”

But they still couldn’t convince the customer,

because they didn’t bother

to understand the customer’s situation.

They don’t seem to do anything

to get customers involved in finding solutions;

Because they know so much,

they are “sitting experts”.

They can diagnose problems

as quickly as possible,

but they fail to engage customers.

They don’t take the time to build relationships

or give customers a chance to talk,

so their sales don’t grow.

That is the danger of focusing entirely on product knowledge.

It gives the salesperson a misconception of its importance;

causing them to put their product knowledge above everything else.

They think that the way they think

or the business relationships are all things that can be ignored,

because knowledge of the new product is important;

Knowledge will do all the work.

But we know that’s not the case.

When designing questions to ask in sales conversations,

you need to use “triggering” sentences

and obvious incentives

to get customers to speak their mind.

Trigger sentences are phrases

that will interest the customer,

as it relates to what “triggered” you

to ask the question. Eg:

– “Last week I read an article that made me think

that you have a problem with…”

“I spoke to Mr. John yesterday,

and he told me-”

– “Last week I went to the Natural History Museum,

and it got me thinking…”

– “I saw a few things posted online,

and it made me wonder, have you ever…?”

Any event that stimulates your observation

and raises a question for the visitor

is considered a “stimulating sentence”.

A stimulating sentence

with the right words can get attention

and make people want to listen to your question,

and then answer it honestly.

Transparency motives also have a huge impact on questioning.

You must be transparent about your motives to your client,

as well as to yourself,

because it can change your behavior.

How many people would love to hear an offer like this:

“Hello, potential customer.

I came here today with the purpose of selling you something

because I have to fulfill this month’s quota”?

In contrast, however,

an obvious motive of,

“I’m here to find out if what we’re offering is right

for you” is both right and heartwarming.

Focus on the following three concepts

when you want to design good questions:

“Never fear the haters,

fear the weak that listen to them.” – Grant Cardone


1. Intent:

Why am I asking this question?

The answer is almost always to find out what

or to discover what helps you see

(and the customer discover)

that there is a match between your product

and the customer’s wishes.

The purpose of asking questions is to increase understanding

between the two parties,

all just to understand each other.

“80% of success is showing up.” – Grant Cardone


2. Content:

What exactly do I need to know?

Usually you need data

or a deeper understanding of what’s important/urgent,

or both.

It’s that simple.

“Only invest in income producing assets.” – Grant Cardone


3. Status:

The ultimate goal of a sales conversation is an honest exchange.

The best way for our customers to be honest

with us is to be honest with them

and create the least amount of stress,

so that they feel safe talking about what we want to know.

It’s best to do a good job of this

by always keeping an eye on the state of the speaker.

The words we use create the atmosphere of the conversation,

and if we ask the right questions,

the other person will answer truthfully.

While asking questions,

you should always consider ways in which

you can ask the customer in a way

that makes them feel safe,

not intimidating.

In the pharmaceutical industry,

a salesperson might ask doctors,

“What do you want when you prescribe a drug?”

Most say they want an effective prescription.

Well… all drugs are effective to one degree or another.

That answer doesn’t say much.

However, if you ask,

“Is it true that what you really want is the best medicine?” they’ll say,

“Yes, that’s what I want.”

That’s different from “an effective prescription,”

but most doctors hadn’t thought of the drug exactly like that before.

“The quality of your life is determined

by the quality of the questions you ask yourself.” – Aysa Hazan



As mentioned in Chapter 4,

a meaningful dialogue is a mature debate about truth,

the meaning of which is open <to all disputing parties>;

It is a two-way dialogue.

That conversation is meant to show you the right path to success.

(Success could be knowing

that this customer is not the right fit for your service.

Success could also be knowing what to do next

to move the sale forward is not always an order.)

Good questions can foster a dialogue when it is open-ended

– they cannot be answered

with a simple “Yes” or “No”

– and are questions.

The question does not contain any malice.

The question,

“Do you still beat your wife?” is a closed question,

and it contains malice.

It is the exact same example of a bad question.

On the contrary,

“What do you do when you are not at work?”

“What school did you go to,

and why did you choose it?”

or “What is the most frustrating thing about doing business

in your industry right now?”

are open-ended questions.

While such a question is still hypothetical

(the other person does something

when he is not at work;

he has boring things at work),

it is not offensive.

Such questions can foster a dialogue,

because it invites people to talk about things

that are important to them.

Melvin Boaz says that,

if a salesperson has to ask what a prospect’s problem is, it’s,

“You probably don’t know what your product can do for them.”

Melvin is the National Sales Manager for Smith & Nephew,

an international implant company,

and the product he sells is a computerized system

for prosthetic hip installations.

“You need to know the exact value of the product

and service you are offering,” he said.

In general, that value is summed up into a number of solutions that

you offer in your offering that,

through other customers,

you know solve quite well the problems the current customer is facing encountered.

So the question should turn into,

‘Have you ever…?’

or, ‘Have you experienced…?’

‘Do you currently have…?’

And if the customer says, ‘

That’s exactly one of the problems I’m having,’

then effective dialogue will take place immediately.”

Melvin said that sometimes the potential customers themselves are not aware

that they have a problem.

Therefore, salespeople need to

help “quantify” to show clients there is a problem

and what that problem means in their organization,

by asking thought-provoking questions.

In company-to-business,

solving a problem means saving money,

making a profit, or both.

Again, salespeople need to take the time

to get to know the buying companies in each deal,

make sure they know exactly

what they’re offering to serve that customer,

and can quantification for customers.

Melvin currently sells computer-aided anatomy equipment for anastomosis.

It helps in incision detection,


and size measurement of implants for better treatment results.

The challenge in his sales is that:

surgeons sometimes say they think they’ve done a good job.

“And frankly, they’re doing a good job,” Melvin said.

Questions need to be asked to see if surgeons think

they still need to improve their work,

he says.

“You have to find a clever way to achieve your goals

with the surgeon,

and you have to be aware

that these surgeons have a very high level of confidence.

Questioning their ability to perform the procedure is a delicate matter,

but sometimes it’s not that hard

to have a conversation

by asking if they think their job is still good.

Can you do better?”

Here, the very question prompted a meaningful dialogue about the product,

and about why they wanted

to make a change from what they were doing.

Often potential customers still think they have no problem.

That’s why in sales contacts

we have to explain how we don’t make them feel like

they’re being criticized or pushed back.

Melvin said, “You have to be very skillful in your approach,

and again, this is where you should use other surgeons to influence.

You should say,

‘This is Dr. A’s experience.

That’s what he told me about.

If you were in a similar situation,

would you be interested in such things?’

That’s the kind of dialogue that might attract the surgeon.”

There may be times

when the information you have doesn’t lead you to a question

or an opportunity to tell your story,

but it does lead you to an action

that moves the customer in the direction of a purchase.

For example, Sean Feeney learned from one of his clients

that he needed to take the time

to research the situation

before he could answer whether there was a good match

between what his company had to offer

and his situation customer or not.

Earlier, Sean visited an executive

who had just been promoted

to vice president of sales.

When meeting with an administrator

to introduce a sales management software,

Sean said, “These are different companies that we are working with.

And here are their problems that we found.

Have you had the same problem?”

The man said,

“Yes, we have some problems like that too,

Mr. Feeney,

but I really want to know what you can do

and you’ll have to figure those out yourself,

I don’t.

There’s no time to show you.”

Sean said, “Let me meet and work with your best sales reps,

talk to them about what’s going on in the market,

and what they need help with,

and I’ll respond. tell you what we can do.”

With the company taking care of his expenses

and the support of a potential customer,

Sean took the time to work

with three of the best sales representatives in the country

for this customer.

When he returned,

Sean said to the potential client,

“This is what I saw…

and this is what I thought I could do.”

After 5 months,

with the information gathered in the market,

Sean has built a good relationship

with the sales manager and his team.

“We always say,

‘Oh, we’re going to go to market

and prove this in action.

We’ll go to the market

and talk to your staff on the spot,

instead of just telling them what we’re doing.’

Finally we got the contract.

And what I’ve found is to provide value,

not just sell them something,

whether it’s selling advice,

selling solutions,

or relationships.

That makes you not only a solution provider,

but also a consultant.”

Sean adds, “The hardest part of relationship selling is often figuring out the ‘input’

to build that relationship.

To achieve this, you need a certain amount of credibility.

You need to show your value or empathy for the customer’s problem,

and then show them a way they can solve it.”

Here are some problems.

A certain potential customer may not be aware of the existence

– or scale

– of a problem.

Sometimes customers know that there is a problem

but they don’t know that there is a solution.

Usually the customer

They don’t know what they want

because they don’t know what the problem is,

sometimes they know

but it’s not the best solution.

The salesperson’s job,


is to figure out what the prospect really wants (or needs)

and suggests the best solutions.

This is often best addressed

with questions rather than statements.

If you ask a customer what they want,

they will usually tell you,

but most of the time they don’t know all the possible solutions

to that desire.

So you have to make sure the client understands your suggestions (or hypotheses),

and compare them with other solutions.

The salesperson’s job is to help customers

and prospects identify

what they really want

– which may not be what the prospect initially thought he wanted.

Salespeople often assume that

they know what the customer wants

(or will want after understanding the product),

and they assume that

what the customer wants is their product.

You may be able to identify a situation,


or challenge that a prospect says they want to solve,

but sometimes they don’t.

Or if they want to,

don’t want to deal with it at the moment.

(Possibly later,

but they are relegated to secondary status.)

During the sales process,

the salesperson must find out if this difficulty

(or opportunity) is important enough

for the buyer to take action now?

And if not now, when?

Marketing professors Philip Kotler

and Kevin Lane Keller point out that

customers typically have five types of needs:

– identified need

(customers want an inexpensive car)

– real demand

(customers want a car with low running costs,

not a low initial price)

– unspecified demand

(customers want the best service from car dealerships)

– pleasure needs

(customers want dealers to equip their vehicles

with a route-finding system)

– secret needs

(customers want to be seen

by friends as savvy consumers)

A salesperson can,

through questions,

discover as many things as the customer needs or wants,

and then,

if he can say those things,

the easier it is for the customer to buy.

Purchasing agents can say they want the lowest price,

and they really want on-time delivery,

or a confidence level of 99.9996 percent.

Price is always a concern,

but oftentimes it needs to be placed in a particular context.

Doctors often say they want a drug that works,

but what they really want is a drug

with the greatest likelihood of success.

The salesperson’s job is

to help potential customers understand the different solutions,

and then have a pre-planned conversation introduce the products

and explain if they are right for them

how their current need fits,

or matches an unrealized desire,

or both. Interestingly,

once a customer recognizes one of his

or her desires and its consequences,

often your product can be the solution.

That becomes a “happy” moment

that salespeople are always looking for,

when they not only make a sale

but are also trusted,


and wanted by the customer

to establish a professional relationship. .

You’ve probably heard the phrase “need-based selling.”

This concept should not be confused

with the idea I am about to mention here.

A needs-based system will teach salespeople

how to identify (through questions) the needs of customers and prospects,

with the goal of selling products

and services to satisfy a specific need

Selling, in fact, is based on desire.

An individual needs food, water,


and shelter.

A business needs a source of supplies,


and cash.

The way individuals

as well as businesses satisfy their needs is

through very specific desires.

We may need food,

but we must determine whether it is a steak,

a salad,


bean stew or a candy bar.

A business may need to ship documents across the country

but wants to use FedEx

or U.S. Postal Service,

fax machine or e-mail.

If a business doesn’t have a need for a product

or service,

they’re not a potential customer,

but establishing a need is just the beginning.

The problem is this: too many businesses

and individuals have the desire

(actually, the desire is almost unlimited),

but don’t want to solve the problem,

or at least don’t want to solve it right now.

If you don’t understand that selling means talking about wants,

you won’t be able to ask the right questions

to uncover those wants.

You can identify what the customer needs,

but if that doesn’t lead to a specific want,

nothing will happen.

You will be most effective

when you help customers define what they want right now,

not with what they may need

or be willing to buy at some point in the future.

We often see salespeople letting potential customers

define a need for themselves,

then spending hours

and hours trying to convince them

that their product

or service can meet their need,

but The sale never happened.

Why so?

Because, the need may be real,

but right now they don’t want to solve it.

Sean Feeney says, as a CEO,

that salespeople can show potential customers return on investment (ROI),

but that salesperson often doesn’t work with the right people.

The person he is dealing with is often in a different position,

does not feel,

or does not understand the problem.

“You also need to understand where the difficulty

or need lies in the priorities of the person you are dealing with,

his boss,

his boss’s boss,

and ultimately the company.

Sometimes I see something

and I really want to solve it.

For example, I can see that setting up a new financial management system

will help us a lot.

But it’s not in the top five,

and so,

even as the best salesperson in the world,

I can’t make a difference.

If it is something that is expected

to be done by the end of this year,

or next year, then wait until then.”

A salesperson might make a strong argument

for selling a new system,

a new type of milling machine,

or a new parcel processing center,

but it won’t make any difference.

Sean says, “I think in a corporation,

a division,

or a company that you’re targeting,

you have to understand

under what circumstances a purchase falls into the priority categories,

and in which case it falls into the non-priority group.

An individual employee

or mid-level manager may have many problems,

but probably won’t be given the budget

or power to solve them.

From the company’s point of view,

and from a budget standpoint,

I would say,

‘This is where we’re going to solve the problem,

but we can still make it through.’

So I think.

What you are selling here is understanding.

And to do that,

you need to ask questions.

If the deal is a $1,000 solution to a bathroom drip faucet,

it’s easy: let me show you how I’ll save you $5,000 later. a year.

But if the product offering is worth $4 million

and costs the organization 16 months,

it will be much more difficult.

Sean says, “The easiest people to sell to are the ones

who understand what they’re trying to do,

and who will know when they’re successful.

The biggest challenge of an offering is

when companies have a problem

but don’t know how to solve it,

and they’re hoping you’ll do a miracle for them.

Those are the best salespeople.

The easy-to-sell cases,

which are good return on investment,

are when they know they have a problem,

they know the solution,

and they know the business to say, ‘

You know the problems. what?

I know that if I spend a million dollars now

I will save five million dollars over the next three years.

It’s a pretty big deal so we’ll place an order right away.’”

“Always do your best.

What you plant now,

will harvest later.” –Og Mandino



You must obtain certain information

from the customer to decide if there is a match.

The question here is what information is needed and how to get it?

I’ve said before that you need

to design a comprehensive list of essential questions,

but getting information is not just a function of knowing exactly

what information you need.

Make sure people want to answer your questions.

If they don’t want to answer,

they can give you numbers and facts,

but they won’t give you the information you need

to hold a productive sales conversation.

You can use questions to find out where people come from

and how long they’ve been in the area,

to understand business areas

and challenges,

and to discover what’s important to them. surname.

Much of the value of questions lies not only in the information you obtain,

but in the state of mind the questions evoke.

Questions, if asked the right way,

can create a sense of interest

and sincerity on the part of the other person,

as well as create the impression that you are very insightful.

Asking a good question is an art.

You can encourage helpful responses in two ways:

first, by creating a comfortable

and safe atmosphere

when you are talking with your partner

(the state of the contact),

and two, through the quality of the questions

to reinforce a sense of security

and make the other person want

to answer honestly and honestly.

I’ve found that the only way to have a genuine relationship is

to be honest and open,

to be genuinely interested in the questions you ask yourself,

to share information

(but I don’t know what to expect).

Again, not gossip).

What I say sounds warm and comforting,

but it also doesn’t sound very realistic.

Is it profitable?

Does it help a consultant

or an accountant get more deals?

Does it help salespeople sell more?

Actually yes.

If people believe your words and care,

because you are honest,


and willing to share,

they will cooperate with you,

buy from you,

and value your ideas.

But to build that trust,

you need to make sure

the person you’re asking really wants to answer the questions.

They don’t always want to.

On an unlucky day,

you may meet someone

who doesn’t care about you,

and who doesn’t want to answer

even if you asked a question.

Usually, you have to give some information in exchange for information.

If you treat a customer contact like an interrogation,

a market survey,

you will quickly shut down the flow of information.

Your interlocutor’s degree of openness often reflects your own attitude.

If you don’t tell the other person

what you’re going to do while you’re at home,

or where you went to college,

or where you grew up,

why should they tell you about such things?

Most people will give you a business card if you give them yours.

But it should be an almost equal exchange.

Linda Mullen, who sells Doncaster clothing directly to her clients,

has to question both the people she comes into contact with

and the women recommended by her clients.

Usually, the person referred is also an acquaintance

who buys “stylish” clothes;

through Linda’s client,

who knew the price of the clothes,

the style,

and the quality.

When starting a phone call to a potential customer,

often Linda doesn’t know anything,

and so she has to start with things like,

“Hi, we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you yet,

but I’d like to know.

Are you interested in the service we provide?

I often work with busy businesswomen.

I usually host product launches and sales at home,

and the reason I called this call was to see if this service could help.”

If the customer responds positively

and asks for more information,

Linda will begin to find out:

“Let me ask you a few questions.

Do you like to go shopping?”

And most people say,

“Oh my god, no!” Linda says the service she provides

and the clothing brand she represents is

for women who are always on a tight budget.

She tells clients,

“Ladies often come to my place

and see me in just an hour,

but they very much welcome our service

and accompanying advice.

Would you please come by

and see if this service is right for you?”

If the prospect is interested,

Linda asks again,

“Where do you usually shop?

Are there any brands you usually shop for?”

Linda told me, “I know all the brands of clothing,

so if the lady chooses a brand that costs less than ours

—my average suit costs $500

— screaming or more

– I knew right away she might not be very comfortable with money.

So if she says to me,

‘Oh, I’ll just go for Casual Corner,’

I’d say, ‘This is better than Casual Corner.’

I recommend them a better product,

It’s almost like Ann Taylor or Jones of New York.

Can you spend a little more?’

The visitor might say,

‘No, Casual Corner is fine.’

But she can also say, ‘Yes,

because you know what,

I go there but never Now find something I like.

So okay, I’ll consider spending more.’”

When a client visits Linda for the first time,

she will learn

as much as possible about their situation and clothing needs:

“Can you tell me what you do?

Who do you have to report directly to?

Who reports to you?

How far away work?

How many important events do you attend in a season?”

And the key question is,

“What frustrates you most when you go shopping?”

Recently, Linda met a woman

who led an $800 million company.

This woman often buys clothes at Talbot’s

– according to Linda,

the goods are relatively low-end compared to what she sells.

“But she was introduced to me by two women

from the same company,

and she had heard about me and seen my products,

so she finally decided to come see me.

Over the phone,

I figured she wouldn’t feel comfortable at all

about the price she was offering.

But when she arrived,

she said,

‘I tend to buy things on sale,

and that’s why I never get anything I like.’

I offered to have my measurements taken at her house.

I want to do a wardrobe ‘browse’ with her,

and help her get rid of all the things she doesn’t wear or need anymore.

I can show you how to make the most of what you already have.”

Linda went to the other woman’s house,

helped her clear out her wardrobe,

rearranged it,

bought more new things,

and showed her how to coordinate

Old and new furniture accordingly.

“Over the long term,

she has realized that she is spending her money more wisely.

For example, even though a Doncaster suit might cost twice

as much as a sale,

it’s actually not more expensive per wear,

since she can wear it more times.

She also bought a lot of clothes at a discount,

but maybe she only wore them once

and ended up throwing them in the warehouse.

The price of the clothes I supply,

if measured by the number of times it is worn,

is significantly lower,

and that has been a valuable lesson for many of my clients.”

If you analyze Linda’s approach closely,

you’ll see that she has gathered quite a bit of information,

as naturally as in a normal conversation,

(and I’m sure it’s like a normal conversation)

She did not appear to be examining the other woman

or conducting an interrogation.

Good questions yield information

without the need for a cross-examination.

Good questions encourage honest answers,

and thus valuable new information,

allowing you to prolong the conversation

and continue to dive deeper into the buying process as you see fit.

In a conversational style,

Linda has gained a lot of information

that can help her lead potential customers in the direction of buying.

If you choose the right opening question,

most people will answer

(but not always; again this is not always the case.)

Before asking a sensitive question or Suddenly,

come up with a way to open it

so it doesn’t seem intentional or imposing.

All good questions expect accurate,


straightforward answers.

But they must be presented in a way that will cause others

to genuinely respond with honest,

straightforward answers.

So the way we ask, the language we choose,

the way we ask the question can significantly affect the quality of the answer.

We should prepare our questions seriously,

like planning important client meetings,

performance reviews,

or meetings with superiors.

You shouldn’t walk into a conference room

and ask a client you’ve never met,

“What would you like to do more of that you don’t have time to do?”

While it’s a great question

and can give you important information about the customer’s personality,

and preferences,

you need to ask “additional” questions as well.

If you ask, “What do you do when you’re not at work?”

and the other person answers,

“I’m always working,”

you’ll have the opportunity to say something like,

“I know that feeling

and I always wonder what more

I should do if I had the time to do it.

Do you ever think about the things you want to do,

but don’t have time to do it?”

Most people will answer if you “take the trouble”

to arrange the question in this way.

I suspect that people

who are not comfortable asking questions

of a private nature are also not comfortable sharing private information.

They don’t want to ask other people

where they usually go on vacation,

because they themselves don’t want to be asked

where they usually go on vacation.

They don’t want to ask other people

what to do when they’re not at work,

because they don’t want to be asked the same thing.

However, such questions help you build a positive relationship

with the prospect/client in the process of learning about their situation.

Remember that the difference

between an average salesperson

and a great salesperson is in their attitude,

their message,

as well as their ability to build valuable business relationships

(ways building a relationship described in Chapter 8).

The quality of your questions is directly related

to the quality of your business,

because unless people change their way of thinking,

people will not be inclined to change their behavior.

If your goal is to get people to do something different from what they are doing

—which is the goal of most sales

—the only and surest way is to change the way you think.

Not only do you have to stimulate them to think,

but you also have to make them think differently on each topic.

The best way to do that is to ask questions,

not statements.

Salespeople often think they should ask questions to gather information,

so they can discover the wants

and needs of customers.

But in reality, what salespeople really need is information

that helps customers discover their own wants and needs.

This is an important difference.

You need to get the customer to say,

“I’ve never thought of it in that way before.”

Then customers will realize for themselves what they really want

that they didn’t realize before.

If you have established an irrefutable position

(which I will cover in Chapter 6),

you are also ready to formulate questions

to determine how customers rate the product in your position.

If your position undeniable advantage lies in the fact

that your company is the

only one that can deliver in 24 hours,

you have to ask about delivery.

But you shouldn’t ask, “Is fast delivery important to you?”

Most people will say “yes”.

Instead, ask, “How important is it to you

to get the product delivered right within 24 hours?”

If the answer is, “About fifty percent,”

then you are entitled to half of the business with them.

If the answer is,

“Nearly zero, because we don’t operate that way,”

then showing how your company can deliver

within 24 hours won’t convince the customer

with potential goods.

That’s not to say delivery time isn’t important,

and you won’t be able to use it as a differentiator.

But it also means that if you stick to fast delivery,

that customer may not care.

You also have to be aware that bad questions can cause major setbacks

and damage your credibility.

We recently asked a sales rep how she approached potential customers.

She said she asked the question,

“Our software has seven unique features

and is used around the world,

and it’s cheaper than our competitors’ products,

is there any reason to?

Will you not use our software in the future?”

If you answer,

“Yes,” you want to argue.

If you say,

“No,” you may not want to say it,

but say it just to reassure the salesperson.


when her question suggests

that there is no reason

for a potential customer not to buy her software,

it is completely unfair that she herself requires the customer to be open

while His mind is obviously closed.

During the sales process,

you require the customer to have an open mind.

But when they perceive your point of view as closed,

why should they open up?

The type of question

as well as the way you ask it makes

it very clear whether you are open or closed,

that you really want to hear what the other person has to say.

Therefore, you should avoid questions that are directional

but can be difficult for the customer to answer,

or questions that sound like an interrogation.

Use these tips to design questions that set you apart,

and allow customers to see you as a resource.

Take the time to write down your questions

before you meet with the customer,

and use your questions

to find out if your product fits their needs.

Be sure that your questions will uncover the hot issues

that are driving the behavior of individual customers

as well as of their company.

Use appropriate wording in questions

to identify the thought process behind decision making.

Finally, ask questions that seek information about the importance

of undeniable features

and benefits in your product.

Questions are often more persuasive than statements.

In fact, they are powerful tools that salespeople (and educators) use.

In our definition of selling

– selling is teaching

– asking questions is the most effective way

to help people understand things

events that they were previously unaware or unaware of.

What you are trying to do by asking these questions is

to ask the customer

to conclude that your product or service fits their needs.

The questions should be designed

so that the customer asks themselves

and realizes that your product is suitable.

The quality of your questions

in sales determines the quality of your business.

You need to engage customers in dialogue,

because if you can’t figure out whether

or not their desires match up

with your products and services,

and if you can’t get them to think,

then you don’t.

You can’t do much in business.

The best way to get people thinking,

encourage dialogue,

and get the information you need,

is to ask open-ended,

unbiased questions that customers can freely answer.

Once you know there’s a fit,

it’s time to tell your story.

“The best way to find yourself is

to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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Angel Cherry

Creative Blogger

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