Over the last several months I have engaged in several on line disagreements about the importance of asking questions early in the sales process. More than one sales expert has claimed that asking questions violates trust. More than one marketing expert has claimed that asking questions is offensive. My position is that unless your salespeople are asking lots of good, tough, timely questions, they won't uncover their prospects' compelling reasons to buy and buy from you instead of your competition. In addition, you won't create the urgency you need to move the opportunity forward and prevent delays, put-offs and ambivalence.
My guest on last week's edition of Meet the Sales Experts was Sales Development Expert Hal Thorsvig. We were talking about psychology, the art of asking questions and listening and he said that "when people are sharing their emotional reasons for buying they are into the highest level of rapport there is!" He added that you should "ask questions with a true sense of wonderment and curiosity".
Hal also had some interesting thoughts on Key Account Sales where, according to Hal, there is much more to it than just identifying important accounts and assigning account managers to them. He said you must have:
- strategy to ward off competition
- ability to deal with multiple buying influences
- great control/understanding of the needs of each of those influences
- ability to maintain the account (maintain should be interpreted as retain)
- ability to grow the account
Are you or your salespeople struggling with ways to justify pricing that is being attacked with unrealistically low prices from your competition? Listen to the show for the great Uncle Charlie story that Hal told. Hal's story is bound to put an end to that problem!
(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan