Have you ever been minding your own business and been approached by someone hawking some useless product who would not let you get a word in edge-wise? They went on and on about the features and benefits until you either escaped or bought the thing just to ease the pressure. Either way, you probably resented that salesperson.
Now imagine that same salesperson selling to a C-suite executive or other corporate buyer. Preposterous? While endlessly blabbing is not going to get them far, many salespeople still take this approach in the B2B world because they hope to convince the buyer through pressure. The problem is even if the buyer somehow buys, they will resent the salesperson – and this leads to refunds, lack of repeat business and referrals, and undesirable reviews of the business and its practices.
In my book, Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method,I stress rather than focusing on trickery or pressure, salespeople would be better served by simply listening. And I don’t mean listening with the intent of replying, I mean actively listening to understand the buyer’s needs through intelligent questions. That’s how you close deals faster. Read on for more of post five of our 10 part series.
Ask great questions and hear them out
First thing to keep in mind is to focus totally on the buyer’s point of view. You are selling a product or service, and this interaction with the buyer is not about you – it is about them.
To close deals faster, you need to develop questions which allows the buyer to open up and reveal their biggest business pain points and needs. Here are some examples:
- In your opinion, what do you feel is causing this problem?
- What will happen if you don’t handle that?
- What will happen if you figure out a way solve this?
- What do you like most about your current provider?
- If budget wasn’t an issue, what would your ideal solution look like?
- Can you explain what you are looking for when choosing a new service provider?
- If you could fix just one thing about your current operation, what would it be?
- If you were to invest in our solution, what would your ideal delivery schedule look like?
- What is the most important thing you would like a product or service like ours to solve?
The creativity with which a top salesperson can craft questions like these knows no bounds. You can do it too — just put yourself in the shoes of the buyer, and try to figure out what will make them talk about themselves and their business concerns.
More tips on listening:
- Don’t interrupt. Acknowledge them once they are done, or ask another question, but let them finish first.
- Take notes. Ask them for permission to take notes, and it will make you look more interested and professional. It’s also more respectful.
- Every once in a while, feed their responses back to them, to let them know you are truly listening. You can use this to ask further questions. “I heard you say you wish you had faster stock pulls … how much faster would be your ideal?”