You probably plan the questions you ask your customers at your sales calls. What about the questions you ask yourself? If you want your selling to be more effective, here are a few questions I ask myself. Why not see if you have the answers for your business?
Who is talking to your customers? Ever wonder who in your company is talking to your customer? Are they as thoughtful and charming as you are? (You are aren’t you?) If others counteract everything you do, you lose all the progress you make. What if the message they send is inconsistent with your message? If there are other departments who have reason to communicate with your customer, do you know how their message is perceived? I’ve found out that some departments bring an “attitude” with them and my customer is offended by it. Think credit department here. Because I asked who is talking with my customer, I learned about the negative perception. Find out who is talking with your customer. You may be surprised.
What if questions can help you plan for the unexpected. If you are planning to keep your business for a considerable length of time (and who isn’t?), do you ask yourself the “what if” questions? Some of these questions are:
1) What if the decision maker left the company or changed positions? How secure would my business be?
2) What if something did go wrong with this order? What could I do for backup? What are the things that could go wrong so I can anticipate and prevent them?
3) What if my competition comes in with a great proposal? What can I do to counteract its effects? If I’ve earned my business, what more can I do to continue keeping competition out?
What do you know for sure? Never forget your roots. Why are your customers choosing to work with you and buy from you? All of your customers buy for a reason. When you remember what got you the business, you can continue to focus on doing what keeps your customers satisfied. Do you know why?
Some salespeople never learn why their customers picked them to be their supplier. These salespeople think they know the reason. Their assumption is a dangerous, false sense of security. The only valid information is what comes directly from the customer in the position of authority. Second hand information doesn’t count. If the person telling you isn’t the decision maker, his bias becomes a factor. You need the exact perspective of the decision maker, not an interpretation. Ask the question and learn why your customer picked you. Listen carefully to the answer.
It’s always a good idea to look at your business differently. Instead of always asking customer questions, this time ask yourself a few. When you have these answers, you’ll sell more.