Customers want to know what is in it for them, not hear a generic sales pitch. Asking effective questions turns a pitch on its head, making you look attentive and interested – in turn leading the customer to sell it to themselves. Consider the following questions and how you can incorporate these into your conversation.
1. What difficulties are you experiencing as far as…?
When you understand a customer’s specific situation you can effectively problem solve or troubleshoot. This allows you to position your product or service in a way that clearly defines the benefit and value and appeals to their emotions. Ask for specific examples of issues and how they’ve been affected by them.
2. What is this costing you – in money, time and stress?
If an issue isn’t costing a customer in money, time or stress then they’re unlikely to be motivated to resolve it. By establishing how an issue is costing someone, we are building the level of dissatisfaction which will help us to overcome their sales resistance (see the Formula for Change). For some prospects there will be a high financial cost; for others, there will be no financial cost but a high social cost.
Generally speaking, when pitching to a business we should focus on how a product will benefit the bottom line – either through an obvious return on investment, cost savings, or improved productivity. When pitching to consumers, sometimes the cost can be more emotional or social.
3. What would it be like if these difficulties were resolved?
This question encourages the prospect to consider how their life or business would improve if they no longer faced these difficulties. Allow them to paint the picture to see how committed they are to resolving the issue. Now you can frame the value of your product in a way that directly relates to their vision.
4. What are your long term goals?
This question gives you more insight into their plan for the future. They may be planning on selling or expanding their business and wish to add value now which will increase the overall value in the future.
Rejection is a part of selling, it’s inevitable. It’s also the hardest thing about being a salesperson.
Sometimes, no matter how prepared you are or how amazing the offering (its value, price and features) – the answer is still no. How you handle rejection will impact your reputation and influence your ongoing success.
Things to consider when your offer is rejected:
1. Handle it with grace and dignity. Respect the prospective customer’s opinion and accept their decision. You’re an ambassador for your company so you must remain professional and always reflect your business’s Core Values.
2. Be resilient. They didn’t reject you personally so don’t get emotional. You win some, you lose some.
3. Take lessons from failed attempts. Debrief – consider what went wrong or why you missed the sale (refer to the sales process), then decide if you would benefit from tweaking your approach.
4. No is not never. Timing is everything and sometimes it’s out of your hands. Don’t forget the customer, be patient and often the sale will come back to you when you least expect it.
In our next blog we will be looking at 20 ways to improve sales results. You can read Part 1 of this blog series here.