As a sales strategist, I have witnessed salespeople try to disqualify a client time and time again. Whether they realize it or not, they’re actually looking for a reason to move onto the next call or what they feel may be the easier sale. They’re cherry picking for the slam dunk, the lay down, or the rollover.
I have heard many questions that are not in the interest of gaining a client, but rather in the interest of getting a sale. When the following types of questions are front-loaded, you’re driving off course:
- If I have it in stock, will you take it today?
- You have a credit card or active checking account, right?
- Are you taking any medications? (insurance sales)
- How’s your credit?
- Have you been declined before?
These types of questions are self-serving, not client-serving. You cannot ask for a commitment when the client has no idea what you can do for them. You have not gained trust or established your expertise yet.
When it becomes about commission rather than compassion, it will usually turn a client off, because it shows that you are not interested in spending any time with them unless you feel you’ll make money.
It’s not about you
As John Maxwell said, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
The reality is that you have to invest in the customer, before they will invest in you.
Qualify first. Gain their interest by asking the right questions to find out what the prospect needs help with.
A qualifying question is used to determine that you are talking to a prospect who is a suitable candidate for your product or service, not to see if they might buy before you know whether you can even help them.
Try asking questions similar to the following:
1. What do you use/drive/wear now?
2. What did you like about your last _____?
3. What did you dislike about it?
4. Have you considered buying a ______? Why or why not?
5. What features do you like?
6. How do you see yourself using this product or service?
7. How will it help you?
8. What issues are you facing right now in your business?
9. What will you gain from solving this issue?
10. What are the risks involved in fixing this issue?
11. What are the risks of NOT fixing it?
12. How long has this issue been around?
13. What has held you back from fixing it so far?
It’s about them
These questions will allow you to ask more personal questions when the time comes without putting the client off. Plus, they will allow you to gain valuable insight into how you can help the customer, build value in your offer, and have the confidence to assume, or ask for, the sale.
Obviously, I can’t list everything you should or shouldn’t say, so I suggest that you do a self-assessment of your sales presentation. Are the questions you ask up front in the interest of gaining knowledge as to how you can better serve the client, or are they purely for self-interest?