Igniting Workplace Enthusiasm

Woeful Questions From Salespeople

Three woeful contributions from salespeople include "we have this widget", "do you want it?" and "we can discount the price".  What a mess right there.  Yet, left to their own devices, this is the type of nonsense salespeople say to clients.  Serving the client' best interests is job one for salespeople so why aren't they having a proper conversation with the buyer?  
They are untrained, unprofessional and unskilled.  What should they be saying?  We don't have anything for the buyer until we have some idea of what they need.  Going through the detail of the latest release, model, new variation etc.  is pointless.  Yet out come the brochures, detailing the spec, trying to lure buyers with glossy photos and copywriting.  Tis has its place, of course, but the timing is everything.  The buyer wants it in pink, but we don't know that.  If we heard off on a roll about the wonder of our blue range we are going to get nowhere, glossy photos or otherwise.
Ask the buyer about where they are now with their business and then where they want to be.  The size of the gap tells the salesperson whether they are the solution to closing that gap or not.  If the gap is not so large, better to go and find a buyer who has the opposite situation.  Don't waste anyone's time any further.
If there is a sizable gap, ask why they haven't filled it in themselves.  What an ace question.  In this answer is the hint as to whether we ahave the magic answer to solve their problem.  Listening to them, we may however discover that we don't have what they need.  No need for wrestling the buyer to the ground and trying to force them to buy.  Get out of there and go find someone who you can provide with a solution.
The next question in this escalation is about their why. There is the unit why, the dicvision why, the company why and then their own personal why.  Their personal why is the key driver of buyer behavior as we are driven by our own best interests.  Once we know what success means for them we have an idea of how to present the solution at a later stage.
Going through the details and then asking do you want it is  not impressive as a means of getting the buyer to go for the purchase.  Instead having now understood what they need and having ascertained we can provide it, we now and only now introduce our product or service.  We need to check a couple of things off before we go into solution explanation mode. Who are we talking to?  Is this the big picture, macro company dirge Toin. Vision realization driven CEO?  Or are we talking to detail oriented people like the CFO and the technical buyer who want three decimal  places and all the micro analysis? Are they the user buyer, who is thinking about ease of application, after sales service and hand holding if needed?  Depending on where they sit in the company our explanation of the suitability of the solution for them will be different.  Similarly the way we deliver the solution during our explanation will vary depending on their personality type.  Are they a straight down to business or let'as have a cup of tea buyer?  Are  they big picture or highly detail orientated?
Discounting is the cancer of sales.  It is a brand killer, a symbol of low value, a slippery slide for which there is only one direction and that is down.  The salesperson is like water.  They find the path of least resistance and the antidote to price preservation is discounting because it is easy.  Salespeople are here to provide value. If there is a push for discounting it had better be related to volume purchases.  The defense of the brand is critical and price preservation is needed if the organization. Is to stay in business.  This is the salesperson' job - provide value.
There are budget limits, policies, stupidities, excuses, justifications a plenty as to why the price has to go down.  Salespeople need to defend the price at all costs including walking away.  That is painful especially with monthly targets and tones of pressure raining down on your head like schrapnel but you have to stand your ground.  Provide a better explanation of the value, do better research on where this solution can help the customer grow their business so that the additional business makes the product essentially free.
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