4 steps to master the most powerful tool in business
Do you ever think that you might be so concerned with saying the “right thing” when you are selling, that you fail to understand what your customer really wants? Many salespeople are so caught up in “selling” their product or service, that they forget the main component of sales: listening. But in order to find out what a customer really wants, it’s important to ask questions that get real, meaningful answers.
Here are Carver Peterson’s 4 steps to master the most powerful tool in business, question based selling.
1. Start BIG to small: First, learn as much as you can about the organization and their overarching goals and objectives. What is their vision, their mission and their core values? Then, start asking questions about the division, department and individual goals, but please make sure you do your homework—no one likes answering questions that you can easily find on their website. The goal is to gain a deep and comprehensive understanding of the company. Your interest in helping them accomplish their goals will open the door for a more open and honest conversation.
Clarifying starters: “Help me understand______.”
2. Find the PAIN: The best salespeople spend 60-70% of their time in discovery. Keep in mind that your prospect agreed to meet or speak with you for a reason—most likely because they hope you will provide a solution to a problem they are facing. Find out what that pain point is by asking thoughtful questions. Don’t jump on the first pain point you hear and start selling your product or service. Remember, that while you are there for a reason, it’s not often somebody offers up their most significant challenges to a total stranger. You need to earn it.
Great questions to start with: “Can you tell me / explain / describe ____?
3. Dig deeper: Be genuinely interested and curious. Listen to every-single-word of their answer and craft another question around the unique needs of your potential customer. Most “pains” won’t inspire someone to immediately switch providers or alter their approach, because even more than pain, people hate change. Because our biggest competition is often the “status quo,” you need to turn a pain into a PAIN. They need to realize how big of an issue they have on their hands and feel an urgency to take action immediately.
Dig deeper with these questions: “How does _____ issue impact your work and performance?” and “If you could look ___ months/years into the future, what does ‘success’ look like?”
4. Provide the solution with a story: Only after you have a complete understanding of the pain will you introduce your solution. However, instead of just telling them how or why your product or service is better than your competition, select the right story or case study that highlights you solving a similar problem. “That sounds very similar to the situation we faced at ABC Company. Here was their pain, our solution and it resulted in us saving them ____.” The client testimonial is the ultimate sales pitch. It’s unbiased and trustworthy.
Present a solution with these questions: “Would you like to hear about how we solved ______ problem for someone in a similar situation? We think we could achieve the same results, if not better, for you.”
Using questions to build rapport, trust, and credibility with clients is one of the most powerful tools in business. Sales people that master this technique can double their output and drastically increase the company’s revenue while achieving their personal goals. But getting used to “digging deeper” and following up with strong questions isn’t as easy as it sounds. For more information and additional advice on selling, contact Carver Peterson Consulting. We’d love to find out more about your pain points and find ways to help make you more successful.