excerpt from The Sales Assassin: Master Your Black Belt In Sales
by Anthony Caliendo
5 Techniques for Asking Client Qualification Questions
1. Search and Discover the Emotional Drivers of Your Client
Emotions are integral to almost everything we do. It may be the off-hand comments that are clues to client thinking and motivation. It is these emotional clues that may lead to understanding what may be driving or may actually drive the final decision to not only buy but who may be the person that I will buy from. Tune in to how you may offer a solution to these drivers. When appropriate, relate to the issue with examples of other clients or your own experiences that better connect you to the clients and their needs. This emotional connect can lead to loyalty and future opportunity even if this sales opportunity does not come together.
2. Focus On Your Client’s Needs
In most cases, clients come to us with thoughts, ideas, concepts and preconceived ideas of what they think they need. However, these preconceived ideas may be misguided and can evolve if you know how to create a client self-discovery of needs process. In fact, your questions, when properly formatted, will often make them rethink their preconceived notions. Honing in on client needs is the result of asking questions, listening to responses and re-questioning new ideas and concepts, working to solutions and eventually excitement. If there are missing facts or something is unclear, it is important to ask the client simple and concise questions: gathering data will become a much easier process and in the meantime, you will avoid creating a sense of misunderstanding with the client. The goal: what does my client need? Not what I want them to need and what I want to sell them.
One of the best examples of this point is a trip to your local big-box electronic store in search of a new computer. Too often these sales professionals are on a mission – commission by selling me a bigger, faster and fancier piece of equipment than what I need. What I want is a computer and software that is simple to use and helps me organize my day-to-day life in a more simple manner. My needs in this case are very different than a small business that needs a computer and software to help manage business inventory and finances. The question you must ask yourself is:
What information do I have to gather from the client
to be sure I present them a solution?
You may be tempted to sell your client your top-of-the-line computer and software when they really only need the baseline model. By over-selling them more than they need, you may jeopardize future business opportunity. Customers are savvy and will eventually figure out that they don’t need most of what you sold them. Now you have a bitter and resentful customer who sees you having wasted their money and not looking out for their best interest. They’ll see you as a “salesperson” and not as a resource.
3. Personalize Your Language to Your Client
Your client is a person, not a thing. The way you speak can be a clear message to the client of what you think about them. The word “YOU” can be powerful. Overuse of the word “I” can be a turnoff. Letting the client know that your every thought revolves around them gives an indication of a personal connection and your desire to serve them and solve their problems. Changing the way you speak and the terms you use makes a difference in how you are received by your client. Using “you,” “yours,” or “you will find,” “you will discover” rather than “I think,” “I believe,” “I know” or “Let me tell you about,” directs your message to a much more personal level.
4. Help Your Client See Financial Value and the Return on Investment
Just like you, your client is trying to make money. If you know your product can help your client save money and increase profitability, then make sure they understand the specific return on investment in terms of dollars and cents. If your product has features that differentiate you from the competition then you may have a valuable advantage.
5. Discover and Leverage Your Client’s Priorities
When businesses look to improve their operations, they call on sales professionals and consultants for new products and services. However, these professionals can do very little to help their clients if they cannot identify and understand the client’s priorities and how these priorities relate to their business objectives. Knowing the client’s priorities leads to understanding the client’s alternatives. These alternatives allow the client options to meet their goals and objectives under different constraints and circumstances that are present today or may evolve. To figure out priorities and constraint alternatives, consultants have to gather and analyze as much data about the company and the industry as possible.
A Sales Assassin Master training imperative is possessing a relentless knowledge of the importance of your product and its benefits to your client. If you’ve listened to the client and determined their needs, but still are not progressing in closing the deal, find out if there are other elements of their business that are taking priority and pushing your sale aside. Simply, if you know your client is pushing through the implementation of a high priority project that takes precedence over your product sale, acknowledge your appreciation and understanding of this priority and work to position your follow up for a later date that coincides with client needs. Schedule a callback at a later date that may stand a better chance of getting some attention. To do this you have to ask the questions because the information is not always volunteered. Again, focus on the needs, expectations, demands and priorities of your client. Make this effort the foundation of a longer term relationship – the issue is not “now or never” but rather “not now is not never but focused on forever.”
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17 Questions To Qualify Sales Leads Faster and Better
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17 Questions To Qualify Sales Leads Faster and Better
- Client Qualification Process pt 1
- You Can’t Hear the Answers If You’re Not Listening
- How to Connect With Prospects and Get Leads