Would you trust a physician who prescribed medication without asking you any questions? How would you feel about a physiotherapist who started bending your limbs without enquiring about the purpose of your visit? Then why do some salespeople think it is their job to tell you all the wonderful features of their products without asking any questions?
What questions should you ask?
What does the customer need?
What’s the problem they are trying to solve? What’s the gap between what they have and what they need? What’s missing?
What do they want?
Is there a difference between what they need and what they want? Why do they want it? Why is that important to them?
Do they have a budget?
How much are they willing to spend? Can they afford what you are selling? Will money be an issue?
When do they need it?
Immediately or are they planning for the future? Is it an emergency?
Do they have the authority to make a buying decision?
“In addition to yourself, is there anyone else who would be involved in making a final decision on your purchase?”
Have you ever been frustrated, having worked hard to make a sales presentation to someone who then has to get approval from a partner or boss?
What is their decision-making process?
Do they need to take it to committee? Do they need to get three quotes? Do they need references or to speak to existing customers?
What are their decision-making criteria?
What are their priorities? Cost? Quality? Brand? Reputation? Results? How will they determine which is most valuable to them?
What is their dominant buying motive – the most important emotional reason for them to buy?
Status? Prestige? Keeping up with the neighbours? perceived as smarter, more creative, more frugal, or more environmentally responsible? What is the image they are trying to project? What is the mental picture they have about owning your product? Fun times with family? More time for hobbies? The admiration of an in-law? The pride of their parents? A new promotion?
Were you aware that asking questions helps you to maintain control of the interview without seeming to be in control? Can you imagine how much better your recommendation or proposal will be, once you have the answers to these eight questions.
If you’re not asking these questions now, what’s holding you back?