The goal in any sales meeting is to encourage the prospect to come to their own realization that the product or service you are offering is the solution to their problem. How can you accomplish this? By arming yourself with a list of impactful questions. You can never be prepared with too many questions. Your series of questions will move the prospect through a well designed "sales acceleration" process, taking the prospect's thinking from an intellectual to an emotional level.
When you visit your physician, you are asked questions aimed at uncovering your symptoms, in an effort to develop an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. When the medical professionals uncover pain, one of their goals is often to discover how great the pain actually is. In some cases, a doctor will cause more pain temporarily in order to accurately answer this question.
Physicians are searching for problems in the same fashion as top sales professionals. When the problems are uncovered, proper solutions can be presented. If a diagnosis is made before the problem is uncovered, this is paramount to malpractice. The same concept is true in the field of sales. If you sell before you know what the problems are, you are committing sales malpractice.
To uncover the prospect's pain, begin with surface level questions. These questions are designed to uncover the tip of the iceberg, otherwise described as the prospect's lowest level of motivation or interest.
Here are some examples:
* What are the main concerns you are having in respect to....?
* What challenges are you facing that a company like mine might be able to help you with?
* Usually people come to us for help in one or more of these areas - list your prepared list of areas. Are any of these issues with you?
As you work with the prospect, we aim to uncover at least five different surface pains before moving to the next part of the "sales acceleration system." People are emotional creatures and emotion is what drives their buying decisions. Your goal is to get them to say that they need what you are offering. When this occurs, you have locked yourself into a sale. However, if you tell them they need something, they are likely to doubt it. Ultimately, if you aren't able to effectively uncover the prospect's pain, you will likely lose the sale.
As you move along your journey to becoming a sales professional versus a sales amateur, the levels of your questions will advance, moving from talking too much to the ideal type of presumptive open-ended questions.
One of the keys to developing strong questioning skills is to master your listening skills. In fact, only 25 percent of your questioning strength is derived from the types of questions you choose to ask.
The other 75 percent is derived from your listening skills.
Everyone has developed some level of poor listening skills. Bad listening habits can include finishing someone's sentences, putting words into someone's mouth, interrupting someone while they are speaking, dominating the conversation, fidgeting with some sort of object while someone is speaking or asking repeat questions.
All of these poor listening habits send a message to your client that you don't care about them and what they have to say. This in turn develops lower levels of trust and rapport between you and your prospect.
These changes will help you to transform from a passive listener to an active listener. You can find out anything you want to know if you ask the right questions.
And, asking the right questions will not only help you move toward becoming a professional sales person, but will improve your closing ratio and ultimately, your bottom line.