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The Sales Buzz Issue 96 - 2 Questions you should be asking prospects
November 02, 2010

I'm Stephen Craine from the website

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Increase Sales By Asking Just 2 Extra Question

You can increase sales by adding just 2 questions to the questioning stage of your sales process.

These 2 questions will give you a direct insight into the buying strategy of your prospect.

They will tell you exactly what’s important to them as they make the decision on whether to buy your product or service.

Knowing their buying strategy will also tell you the order of priority that a buyer gives to each of their needs, wants, and desires.

And, these 2 questions work in any sales role.

From formal B2B presentations, to quick one off retail sales, you will increase sales with this great selling technique.

I’ve used this technique when managing and coaching sales teams in Field Sales, Direct Sales, Telesales, and Retail and Car showroom selling.

So here it is: How to increase sales with just 2 additional sales questions…

The sales questions stage

You probably have a list of sales questions that you ask your prospects now.

You might use a questioning funnel, a sales technique where you start with open questions that get the buyer talking, and then alternative and closed questions to get the more specific detail.

But do you ask your prospects, how they will make their decision on whether to buy or not?

This is their buying strategy, the process they follow when deciding whether to buy, and which supplier or showroom or shop to buy from.

For all but the most professional of buyers this process will be followed subconsciously. Very few members of the public even know they have a buying strategy. So asking them directly won’t work.

What is a buying strategy

Think about a recent purchase you made and how you made your decision on whether to buy, and which product to choose.

Make sure you are honest with yourself here, you may find your decision wasn’t as logical or as sensible as you thought it was.

What was the first you knew about the possibility of buying the product. Was it an impulse because you saw something in a store window. Was it planned, triggered by an advert or something you heard in conversation, or did it come about because of necessity as something needed replacing.

Perhaps you had a new need for a product because of a change in your life. An example of change is a growing family that makes you think about a new house.

Once you were aware of the possibility of making the purchase how did you decide what to buy and where to buy it from.

Here’s an example of a strategy and how to sell to it

I recently bought a new suit for work and I followed my usual buying strategy:

I go to a place where there are several good shops.

Select 2 or 3 suits at one shop.

Go to all the other shops and do the same.

Narrow it down to 2 shops with suits I like and try them on.

Then narrow down my choice to just 2 suits and select one.

Quite often I will end up back at the first store I visited and buy one of the first suits that caught my eye. But I have a strategy, and even though I know I am doing it I still follow the same old process.

How to sell to a strategy

Now imagine if you were the sales person and you knew my strategy.

Instead of getting frustrated on my first visit of the day to your store you would know that I was not going to make a decision until I had seen more suits.

You would also know that I needed to start with a wide selection and narrow it down.

If I was selling a suit to me I would start by making me a cup of coffee.

I would slow me right down and try to get me to go through the whole process that I usually follow right there in the same shop.

My strategy is to look at a few suits then leave the store and go to another one.

If I was the salesman I would want to keep me there and this is how I would do it.

I would ask for some general information about the type of suit I was looking for and select around 10 or 12 suits and show them to me as I drank the coffee.

I know that this customer needs, and it is a need, to go through a process of selection and that he will reduce the 10 or 12 suits down to 2 or 3.

When we got down to 2 or 3 suits I would probably try and sell him more than one suit which would work well as it takes away the need for those difficult last decisions.

If the penny has dropped about how to increase sales by selling to someone’s buying strategy you will want to get started on using it. So here’s the last piece of sales training that you need to get started…

How to discover a buyer’s strategy

You just need to add 2 simple sets of questions to your sales questioning stage of your pitch:

1. How did your prospect make the decision to buy this, or a similar product, last time they bought one.

2. Have there been any changes since that purchase that will change that process.

Buying strategies rarely change. I’ve been buying suits the same way for 20 years. Only when an important change takes place do people re program their processes for decision making.

Give this some thought and make the changes to your sales pitch. People follow patterns and processes. We each have our own unique program for making buying decisions and if you as a sales person can discover these programs you will increase sales.

Now look at the sales questions stage of your sales pitch and make some changes.

Give it a makeover and re-energize your selling strategy. Add the above questions and more make it effective.

If you want to see more on this sales stage open Sales Questioning Techniques…

Would you like to see more on buying strategies?

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Stephen Craine

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