Chapter 10 Sales

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Review of the Sales Cycle
Needs Discovery
Handling Objections
Closing the Sale
Customer Service After the Sale
Needs Discovery
(Identifying Needs)
Selecting possible solution(s)
Asking Questions


Need discovery is more important than any other step in the sales cycle

Plan your questions in sequence to gain information in a logical order

Emphasize 75/25 rule.

Where does Needs Discovery rank?
is more important than making the presentation, handling objections, or closing.
Needs discovery phase is when sale is most often lost
More time should be spent in the APPROACH and in discovering NEEDS than in any other steps of the process

Need discovery is the foundation upon which a successful sale is built

Dale Carnegie
You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people, than you can in two years by trying to get them interested in you.
Planning your questions
Who, what, when, where, why, and how are all good questions
Points of agreement
Plan your questions in sequence to gain information in a logical order
Predict beforehand all the possible answers to each question so that you are never left wondering what to do next
Prepare a smooth transition from every possible answer into the next question
Your questions should attempt to achieve 4 objectives
1.) To discover the prospect’s “hot buttons” or dominant buying motive
2.) To establish the purchase criteria or specifications
3.) To agree on a time frame for completion of negotiations
4.) to gain prospect agreement on the problems before making the presentation

Also: Preplan your questions (customize)
Ask the right questions

Ask before you sell
Questions are the heart of a sale. Questions uncover facts, needs, emotions and will led you to the sale 100 times faster than making your presentation.
The purpose of asking questions
Provides a road map for you to follow
Allows prospects to discover their problems for themselves
Determine prospect’s buying criteria
Salesperson as a diagnostician

Become the “doctor of selling”

Strategic Recommendations
Phrase each question so that it has only one clearly focused purpose
Questions are easily misunderstood by most people

Don’t ask questions in rapid-fire machine-gun fashion…

Avoid technical language or terms unique to your company or product that might confuse the prospect. Always let them know what you want to accomplish.

Asking the right questions will…
Motivate your prospective customer to do the talking.
Differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Demonstrate empathy for your prospective client.
Help client be aware of his needs & help him come to his own conclusions.
Prompt a prospective customer to recognize the importance of taking action.
Discover how a particular company makes a purchasing decision & who the decision makes are.
Formally state the problem
Confirm with the prospect that agreement on problem has been reached.
Open -end questions
(Identify a topic but do not provide structured alternatives)
Allows the prospect to move in any direction
Cannot be answered with a yes or no
Ordinarily begins with, “How do you feel?”, or “What do you think?”
Stimulates the prospect’s thinking and increases the dialogue
Helps uncover the dominant buying motive
Uncovers the true personality or behavioral style of the prospect
They reveal attitudes that a salesperson must be aware of if the sale is to be closed.
Murphy’s law
Anything that can be is understood will be misunderstood
Closed-end questions
(Structured alternatives, multiple choice type)
Uncover specific facts
Reduce prospect tension because they are easy to answer
Check understanding and receive feedback
Maintain control by directing the flow of conversation
Cement prospect commitment to a specific position

used as a substitute for telling the prospect something. Question can make a point, because the customer must think and thanking makes a stronger impression than hearing.

Permissive questions
asking permission to ask questions
“Repeat a fact” technique
when a prospect shares information that may be buried in the context of the other information or in an answer to another question. Repeat whatever he just said back to him, pause and let the prospect elaborate would be an example.
The SPIN technique
by Neil Rackham


Situation Question
Find out about the customer’s situation
Data gathering questions
Problem questions
these questions explore needs, any difficulties they may be having, and dissatisfaction’s in areas where the company could help out.
Goal is for the client to discover their problems themselves
Clients don’t like being told what their problem is so let them discover it on their selves
Implication questions
build up the magnitude of the problem so that it’s seen as serious in the mind of the prospect, and then the sales rep uses need-payoff questions to build up the value of the solution.

These are the language of decision-makers, and if you can talk their language, you’ll influence them.

You have to ask this in larger sales.
Phrasing is critical since you want the prospect to discuss the problem and how it might be improved.

Attach a bottom line figure to this question

-Problem centered questions

Need-Payoff Questions
ex: How would that help? What benefits do you see?

These questions get the customer to tell you the benefits that your solution offers

Gets the customer to tell you the benefits that your solution offers

Focus the customer on the solution rather than on the problem

-Solution centered questions

Amplification questions
That you have been listening

That you understand their concerns

That what they say is important to you

Checks for mutual understanding

Invites the prospect to expand or clarify any point of disagreement

Narrows down generalizations and clears ambiguities

Both beneficial to client and you

Double-Check Question
(Amplification question)
estate or rephrase the prospects remarks. Ask prospect to expand on their answer. Tells prospects:
That you have been listening
Non verbal gestures
(Amplification question)
nodding that you are listening
(Amplification question)
(convinces clients to keep talking, slow down and relax, let the customer think)
Continuation questions
(Amplification question)
encourages prospects to keep on talking by making a positive request for more information. Such q’s don’t push for a particular response or for agreement; they just encourage more communication from the prospect
Survey Questions
Information gathering questions designed to obtain knowledge. Discovers basic facts about the buyers existing situation.

Not to be used for factual information one could acquire from other sources prior to the sales call

Example: Can you describe the problems you experience traveling to each of your PGA Tour events?

Probing questions
Help to uncover and clarify the prospect’s buying problem and circumstances.

Obtain more specific information to fully understand the problem.

Example: Are the travel problems affecting your concentration when you are preparing for an event?

Confirmation Questions
Verify accuracy and assure a mutual understanding of information exchanged

Example: So you think the uncertainty associated with commercial air travel is having some effect on your game?

Need Satisfaction
Designed to move the sales process toward commitment and action

Focus on specific benefits

Are powerful because they build desire for the solution and give ownership of the solution to the prospect.

Example: With fractional ownership of your own jet, what benefits would this bring to your performance in the 30 events you play in each year?

Internal Summary Questions
Probes designed to get prospects to think, see, and consider your interpretation of the situation may be called internal summary or reflective questions.

Achieve this by repeating all or part of the prospect’s last response in the form of a question or by rephrasing the entire idea expressed by the prospect, feeding it back in a slightly different form, and asking for confirmation.

One of the biggest mistakes in selling
is to confirm the problem

After you pinpoint the problem, you must seek confirmation. Get the prospect to agree by following your summary of the problem with good questions.

Salesperson Differentiation
Get the customer to paint their vision of outcome. Get the customer to paint their picture of “after the sale”.

When you can get the customer to visualize outcome, you also have them visualizing ownership – otherwise known as “purchase”.

What do you think _____ will say when he sees this?
What are you hoping to achieve?
How will you use this in your business?
How do you envision this will add to your productivity?
How do you believe this will effect your profit?

Questions about the past
Helps understand your customers’ priorities, motives & behaviors.
What would you say is different about your organization today from when you started with the company?

What has been your toughest project recently?

What have been some of your likes & dislikes of vendors in the past?

Can you give me an example of a recent incident in which you had to deal with ________ problem?

Example questions to uncover problems
Share with me your three biggest challenges?

What problems are you currently experiencing?

How long have you been experiencing this problem?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your current product/vendor/situation?

Questions regarding current vendors
Would you share with me the ideal qualities you look for in a vendor?

How does your ideal vendor compare with your existing vendor?

If you could change one thing about your current vendor, what would it be?

-Never bring up the competitions name (say vendor)

Questions of why the buying motive
What’s driving your need for change?

What do you hope to accomplish?

If you can achieve this result, what will it mean to you?

What originally led you to this decision?

Questions about decision making criteria
Share with me the criteria you use when selecting a …..

You mentioned that price, quality & service were three important criteria. What other criteria might be important to you in addition to those three?

When you survey your customers, what criteria do they say are most important to them?

Of the areas we discussed, what might cause you some concern?

Improving listening skills
Capitalize on Speed of Thought:
We speak at 150 words per minute, but we can listen at up to 600 words per minute

Use this spare thinking time to:
Anticipate where your prospect is going
Mentally summarize the message
Formulate a response
Listen between the lines
Use silence strategically

Facts on listening
We speak at 150 words per minute, but we can listen at up to 600 words per minute (thus you can think about four times as fast as the average prospect talks)

80% of waking hours is spent communicating, and about half of that listening.

60% of misunderstanding in business are due to poor listening

listening uses only about 25% of our brain. The other 75% either thinks about what to say next or stops listening if the conversation is boring or of no interest

enough just to catch as what the guest is saying
IF you can repeat what you have just heard…you HAVE been listening
when you Understand exactly what you have just heard.
Being an active listener
YOU take the responsibility to understand what the guest is saying to you
YOU show that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying
How do you become a better listener ?
Verification and clarification
ah so simple !
Improving your listening skills
Maintain an open mind – avoid prejudgement
Be Patient
Take Notes (divide your notepad into two columns. One side what they said, then on the other side sketch out your proposal, how you can meet those needs)

Reinforce – paraphrase the customers meaning – ask questions to make sure your understand – let the speaker know you are listening

Listen for ideas, do not try to get every word
Focus your full attention – get rid of distractions
Make & maintain eye contact
Think about what the speaker is saying – not what you are going to say next

Do not interrupt
Listen to the words & try to picture what the speaker is saying
Keep your body language neutral
Realize that sometimes just listening is enough

Be attentive yet relaxed
Don’t interrupt & don’t impose your solutions

Wait for the speaker to pause before asking questions
Try to feel what the speaker is feeling
Pay attention to what isn’t said – feelings, facial expressions, gestures, posture & other nonverbal clues

Categories: Sales