The 3 key questions you need to ask your customer in order to drive sales

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Leigh Aston, co-founder of Sasudi.com

Have you been having meetings with potential customers time after time and finding that you’re just not getting the results you want?

Fed up of spending more on your business than you’re bringing in?

I may know what’s causing you problems.

Many people go into a sales meeting armed with a pitch and a smile and think that’s enough. And in some cases it might be – but for a long term, effective sales process with repeat sales there’s more to this picture. There’s a really simple way to drive sales and create long term relationships with your prospects to have them not only coming back for more, but preaching about you to everyone else too! The ultimate win, right?

In this blog I want to share three very simple questions that I usually ask my potential customers in a sales meeting. You might be thinking “Questions? Surely I need to be doing all the talking?”, and I’m afraid to say that is where you may be going wrong!

An effective sales conversation is exactly that. A conversation. Start to think of yourself as the Sherlock Holmes of this person’s mind and decision making process. We need to look for some clues to start.

Start here. Ask…

“What attracted you to this xxxx?”

Don’t suggest any answers, “was it X, or X?”, just stay silent and let the prospect share their thoughts. The answer will give you a massive amount of information, the results of which can either help you to hone in on during the process or offer a viable alternative if this has just made you realise that the reason you thought they came to you actually wasn’t that reason at all! In sales our job is to try our best to understand the other person’s ‘map of the world’. That means that all of the assumptions and decisions we may have made prior to the meeting taking place could all be completely wrong. That’s our ‘map of the world’. They are just perceptions and what we are interested in are THEIRS.

“What are your biggest challenges or frustrations right now?”

Firstly, by asking this question it shows your prospect that you actually give a monkey’s what they are going through! It reassures them that you aren’t just there to sell to them but also have a vested interest in their well-being. Secondly, the answers to this question are like sales gold dust. Here you are finding out exactly what the pain points are at the moment and hopefully your product or service can be the sought after remedy to these issues. Make sure to address how your business can solve these pain points for them. You don’t need to be completely explicit here, “you said X was a problem so here’s how we can solve it”, but instead keep a mental note and be sure to tell them about what you do that will be a welcomed alternative.

“As well as price, what else is important to you with this product / service?”

Asking this question helps to steer your customer away from price being the main deciding factor as to whether they buy from you. Whether we like it or not, price will often be a factor, but don’t let that put you off or send you on an endless quest to beat your competition on price. The answer to this will tell you the most important other influencing factors when making a sales decision and can be highlighted later down the line if price is an issue. In fact, we’ve written a whole blog on how to use this questions effectively, and you can read it here.

So, instead of galloping into your next meeting with a potential customer ready to yap away about how great your product is, take a moment to get inside their heads and let them know they are valued by asking some or all of these three questions. I’d love to hear how you get on.

For more information, sign up for Sasudi by visiting www.sasudi.com, like on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

Leigh Ashton is CEO and co-founder of Sasudi, the world’s first online subscription service that helps SMEs sell their products and services. She is also an author. With the vision to make sales easy for small businesses by changing the way they think, Leigh has spent over 30 years helping people improve their sales skills.

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