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Why Ask Questions?

June 2nd, 2014
The ability to ask questions and to qualify are two core competencies in sales. In Dan Pink’s Book ‘To Sell is Human” he states:

“In the New World of Sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers.” Pink. To Sell is Human. Riverhead. 2012 p 147

Whether you target businesses or consumers in your industry, you need questioning abilities to connect and to engage your customers. I agree with Dan Pink when he says “we are all in sales”.

On this site, you will find references to a new book “The Art of the Q.” I wrote this because I passionately believe that questions and qualification (a sequence of questions) will help you to save time.  Further, my experience is that people who ask the right questions make more money! Why?

Questions help you understand the needs and wants of your customers.

Questions help you counsel buyers to identify and to remove obstacles that stand in the way of your success.

The difference between “The Art of the Q” and other books is that it is based on 17 actual case studies with real life examples. You get actual questions stripped from high performing sales people that you can immediately use in your day to day business life. If you want to download “The Art of the Q”, it is available in e-book (Amazon.com | Barnes and Noble). A print version is coming soon.

You probably use questions now. My hope is that you have the desire to hone these skills to become an expert in communications. I hope you will also share YOUR questions (and answers) with me at facebook/salestrainer4U!

Thank you,

Charlie Van Hecke

 

Wows, Webinars and Whoops!

June 1st, 2013

Who loves to get a WOW!?  All sales people love to get a WOW! Sometimes, in our zest, we become too feature-function-gadget driven and forget about involving our buyers. Yes, we get a WOW, but we might also overwhelm our audience.  At least when we are face-to-face with our customers, we can see their reactions!

Selling Challenge:

  • If we host a web meeting or webinar, we cannot see their faces.

On a recent Webinar, this happened to me.  My blue tooth headset was charged, the 4G internet connection has 4 bars and like magic, I am presenting my solution to a
buyer hundreds of miles away. It was a competitive situation, so I wanted to show as many capabilities and exclusives as possible.  In the online meeting, the buyer did say WOW
a number of times.

Later that week, a fellow sales person called to discuss this particular buyer. Because he is selling a non-competitive product, we network, share sales tips and try to help each other succeed. He told me that a mutual customer shared that she was overwhelmed by my products and services.  Yes, this is the same buyer that participated in the Webinar. In the demonstration, too many applications came at the buyer in too short of time.

  • Yes, I got WOWS – but at what cost? Whoops! I had made a basic selling mistake.

My friend provides vital feedback to me that webinars are a great time saver but are very dangerous because you cannot judge the buyer’s reaction. His advice was to slow down and ask questions like:

  • “How do you see that working for you?”

The risk of having experience is that we become very confident. That confidence can often lead to mistakes and we can spiral into a negative sales cycle.  My friend shares his  feedback and helps me avoid losing an account. I call the buyer immediately and set up a follow up call. This time, the pace of the call was slower. The review of capabilities became interactive and customer focused. There were questions like:

  • “Where will this help you?”
  • “Why?”

This WOW junkie had to tame the urge to show too many features. The enthusiasm is there, but tempered. Now when I get on Webinars, I avoid the trap of talking too much. Questions help slow the pace and get the buyer involved. It takes focus, concentration, questions and listening.  These are some of the fundamental skills of selling. Just because we have new technology does not mean we stop practicing the fundamentals. If we forget this lesson, the result is WHOOPS! Mistakes can cost us customers, commissions and even,careers. This career sales person just got a lesson he will not forget.

If you have a tip, please post a response. If you have a question, please post that or visit facebook/salestrainer4U for a steady stream of tips and relevant sales education.

Tuesdays are like salads, fruits and vegetables

September 13th, 2011

Tuesdays to me are a lot like salads, fruits and vegetables. Every plan that was laid out on Monday gets rearranged by customers, situations and clients. Sometimes you want fruit, but you get veggies instead. If you seek achievement, you will have highs and lows throughout the day.

Tuesdays are filled with meetings that include needs analysis and solution based presentations. It will include questioning, listening, technical analysis and clear communication. Concentration balanced with customer centric empathy can yield fruit. There are no guarantees – sometimes you seek peaches and get brussel sprouts.

The purposeful soul seeks accomplishment higher than work. Understanding that setbacks occur prepares us to overcome obstacles or to deal with the fact that we can’t control every outcome. Sometimes people undermine us and it is an opportunity for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is cultural and habitual. In our family, we all have made mistakes. Like most husbands, I’ve learned the words “yes dear” and “I’m sorry.” There are principles and preferences at work in our marriage. There are some things we don’t bend on and there are lots of compromises. Everyone has heard the phrase “pick your battles.” Principles are things you strongly believe in – not just things you want or have opinions about. Preferences are merely individual wants based on personality or situations.

Flexibility is often more an attitude than a strategy. Adjusting to other people – like to their tastes – is an example of being aware of the preferences of others. Being willing to switch restaurants is a good example. She may want salad – you may want steak. Will you adjust?

The real challenge to being empathetic – you know…. understanding the other person’s point of view… is that your own needs and wants can get ignored. So – you have to be assertive if someone starts walking on you. I like the phrase “do you see the word doormat on my back?” You have to watch your tone of voice as you say this – and yes, I get in trouble all the time!

 

 
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