When you’re selling a product or service, being asked questions is a good thing! It gives you the opportunity to explain why what you do would be valuable to the person who is asking. But sometimes the real question is not the question being asked, and you can trap yourself in the sales process if you answer literally.So how do you figure out what the real question is?
Robert Middleton has a website for consultants and individual providers of professional services. His advice in The Questions Behind the Questions applies equally well to entrepreneurs or their sales people who are selling something that is complex (requires consultation) and/or has a long sales cycle. To the question, “How does your service work?”, Middleton recommends telling a story rather than launching into an explanation of process or methodology. For example:
“We met a very promising start-up software firm who didn’t think they could hold on another month. We helped them get their cash flow working, got them some more money and then showed how they could sell the software faster to their target market. Nine months later they are profitable and growing quickly.”
The answer tells about benefits the prospect would welcome, and it also suggests that your business is succeeding.