“Would you like fries with that?”
This is exactly what a lot of the dealer sales reps I work with sound like. That’s their idea of selling. These are order takers, not salespeople. “I’ll be by on Tuesday and if you have an order for me I’ll pick it up.” Now don’t get me wrong, I like McDonald’s just as much as the next fella. There’s nothing wrong with being an order taker if you work in the fast food industry, retail, or deliver soda pop to convience stores. If you want to be a success at sales, if you want to consistently surpass your goals and build relationships with your clients, you need to start making your questions do the work for you.
Questions are the most powerful sales tool that exists, period. Customers use the questions that you ask to categorize you into either “valued resource”, or “sales-flunkie”. Ask good, insightful questions and you’re the former. Ask thoughtless, mechanical questions that show you haven’t done your research and you look like you got your sales training at the local burger hut.
So you ask “What makes a good question?”
- A good question challenges the buyer to engage, to think, to evaluate new information.
- Ask questions that your competition doesn’t. Differentiate yourself with your questions.
- Ask questions that will have to be answered in terms of your product.
“What’s most important to you when you buy a ________ (whatever it is that you are selling)?”
“How do you use PPV fans?” “Aggressive fire attack, Post Knockdown, just for Overhaul, etc ?”
“How would you know if you’re paying more for your chainsaw chain than you should?”
“What’s one thing you’d improve about your current (hose, nozzle, helmet) ?”
“What made you choose _______ as your current PPV supplier?”
Ask for their opinion. Do it often. Buyers aren’t looking for you to “hold court”. They don’t need our opinions. Ask the question then shut up. Let them talk. Listen. Better yet, listen and write down their answers. Not only will this show that value their answer, you’ll have notes to review later as you develop your next step.
To become adept at asking Smart sales questions you have to work on it. These aren’t questions that just “pop-up” in every conversation. You need to develop a list of good questions and write them down. Practice them. Get comfortable with them. Once you’ve used them for 30 days, revaluate your questions and “tighten them up”.