Over the years, I have taught hundreds of sales and marketing courses; from time to time while waxing lyrical on the basics of selling it would occur to me that I was no longer practicing what I was preaching. I suppose it’s a little like learning to drive. While under instruction we do everything according to the book, but once we pass the Driver’s test we take short cuts and adopt bad habits. When it comes to selling, bad practices can have a profound effect on closing sales, so let’s take a look at five questions we need to ask ourselves to ensure we are selling professionally.
Do I prepare for each sales call?
Pre-call preparation is vital, the first thing you need to consider is the objective of the call. Do you expect it to result in a sale? Or, is it an initial contact where you hope to learn more about the prospect’s needs, or discover who the decision-maker is?
Being prepared for a sales call boosts confidence and helps anticipate objections.
Remember, a successful sales call does not necessarily have to end in a sale.
Do I Build Rapport?
How we interact with someone can create a sense of ease, or discomfort. People buy from people they like and trust – people they are comfortable with. Identify whether the person exhibits one of four behavioral, styles: Analytical – those people who live in the world of facts and logic; Driver – those A-type personalities that make quick decisions, know what they want, and want it now; Expressive – talkers, who want to build a relationship with you, and enjoy being flattered; and Amiable – these are quieter, more reflective people who need to trust and like you before they buy, they also need a lot of assurances.
Do I Qualify?
A great deal of time can be wasted trying to sell to someone who is not in a position to buy. Selling to the wrong person can irreparably damage your chances of getting a sale. Is the person you’re talking to an initiator, influencer, buyer, decision-maker, evaluator or user? Be careful not to confuse a buyer with a decision maker, they can be the same person but not always. If you can’t clearly identify the decision-maker, then ask – it’s as simple as that.
Do I Probe and Clarify?
Identify the needs of a prospect before switching to the sales pitch. Ask clarification questions. Do you like this product? Will this product suit your current needs? Probe and clarify further whenever you sense a verbalized, or implied ‘but…’ in their answer.
Do I Establish Agreement?
Getting your prospects into the habit of moving in a positive direction is a good strategy. Use questions as trial closes enable you to see what level of interest a prospect has in what you are selling. Typical trial close questions can include: “Do you prefer this model or that one?” or, “If you decided to purchase, when would you need delivery by?”
Watch out for five more questions in a future post soon!