By Walter Rogers
President and CEO
Baker Communications, Inc.
Experienced sales professionals already know that asking questions is the best way to uncover customer needs. However, you can be good at asking questions and still never be highly successful, and here is why: A lot of sales professionals only ask questions so they can steer the customer to the solution they already had in mind when the conversation started. This approach to using questions may lead to a sale, but it may not create the level of trust, intimacy and understanding that is necessary to build a long-term relationship. This approach – because it is still grounded in the sales professional’s needs and goals – may not uncover all of the customer’s needs or create a complete understanding of the customer’s situation. Remember, the question you must keep asking yourself is not “what can I sell,” but rather, “how can I help?”
This process is very similar to the doctor who asks, “where does it hurt?” The doctor usually doesn’t stop there. He will also ask things like:
How often does it hurt?
Is it hurting now?
When was the last time it hurt?
What were you doing when it hurt?
How long did it hurt?
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