The best sales people do little selling; they build relationships.
Solid relationships depend on knowledge, that is, the parties need to know one another well, and what they learn about the other party needs to develop confidence, trust and common interest. In order to survive the initial courtship and achieve these elements in a relationship you need to ask good questions.
The 16 Very Effective Sales Questions
Some of the most powerful questions that every Sales Agent should consider asking a potential/new customer are as follow:
- What can you tell me about your organization… and yourself?
- What do you like about what you’re currently doing?
- What don’t you like about your current situation?
- What would you like to be enhanced or improved?
- What can you tell me about your priorities?
- What prompted you to start this project (seek solutions) now?
- What can you tell me about your decision-making process?
- How do you handle budget considerations?
- What other options are you looking at?
- What can you tell me about the people involved in the process?
- What obstacles are in the way of moving this forward?
- Why do you think these issues exist/occurred?
- Are they likely to continue?
- What have you tried to do to resolve them?
- What was your experience with those measures?
- From whom/where did you seek information and/or guidance?
- How will you be evaluating different options?
- How will the funding for the project be justified?
- How much support does this have at the executive level?
- What are the key factors that would make your decision worry free?
- Beyond your immediate work priorities, what really gets you excited; or what helps you recharge your emotional batteries?
This last question is designed to gain insight regarding your client’s personal motivations and interests. You need to know what makes your client tick, what hopes and fears they harbor and what is truly important to them.
Remember, it’s all about their needs, concerns and interests, not what your products or services can do for them – at least not until much later in your relationship building.
It will be fortuitous if you learn that you have common interests beyond work; and when that happens you should capitalize on that common ground. But I caution you from trying to force something that isn’t real – that is most often a relationship killer. After all, most people can intuitively sense if someone really has the same enthusiasm for something that they hold dear to heart within themselves. You can show appreciation for their interest and ask questions to learn more, but don’t fake knowledge or enthusiasm that isn’t there. Having said that, developing a balance of personal interests with business concerns creates a natural human path towards establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.
Note: Every decision to buy involves an emotional resolution. Many prevailing studies conclude that the top motivator is the “Avoidance of some fear factor.” If you have built a truly intimate professional relationship you will likely know and understand the emotion(s) that are in play.
Get the answers to these questions; take action based on those answers, and you’ll likely get the sale. This line of inquiry is very effective.