It’s pretty obvious that if you’re in sales that the object of your work is to sell something. But what gets you sales? The money questions do. These are the questions that you ask when you sell that actually lead to a sale. These questions demonstrate that you have a viable prospect who can buy from you now. Here’s how to ask the money questions.
Don’t waste time talking to people who can’t make a buying decision.
One of the big time wasters in selling is to make multiple sales calls only to learn that the person you are meeting with isn’t the ultimate decision maker. That person might be an important influencer, but still you are relying on someone else to do your selling. That’s not the most effective way to sell.
You should be meeting with the people who can say yes to buying from you. The question to ask early in your sales process—as in the first sales call—is “Who along with you will make the decision to buy?” You might hear that the person you’re meeting with is the sole decision maker. You might also learn the true situation, which is that others are involved. The only way to get this very important information is to assume that others are in fact involved.
You won’t get an accurate answer when you ask the question differently, by just asking if the person you’re speaking with is the decision maker. Why? No male will ever acknowledge that he’s not the decision maker.
Get agreement on what needs to happen for them to buy.
The next obstacle you face once you’re talking with the decision maker, is to do what you promise to do and later learn that it’s not enough for the buyer to buy. Get agreement on what you will do and that once you deliver, your customer will buy from you. Here’s what this step looks like.
Let’s assume there is a product test. You can say, “Mr. Customer if we deliver the test and get results of X and Y, is that sufficient for you to begin buying from me?” If there isn’t a product test, you would state the conditions you believe must be met and follow with, “If we get X, Y and Z, is that sufficient for you to begin buying from me?” This question avoids making the mistake of assuming that your prospect will buy when he won’t. You both benefit because the requirements are clearly stated so both you and your prospect know what needs to happen before buying can start. Your question also sets up the expectation that your prospect will in fact buy.
This question also uncovers if you’ve got competition to address. Know that you have more questions to ask about your competition if your prospect hesitates or avoids answering the question.
What’s the problem worth?
I’ve never made a sale when I didn’t quantify the prospect’s problem. What’s your success rate when you try to sell without quantifying the cost of the prospect’s current situation and problem? It’s probably a low success rate. Why? When a prospect learns the true cost of a problem it is almost impossible to avoid it when the dollar amount is significant. Lost customers, downtime, employee turnover, lost revenue, waste, rework, and other costs that decrease customer profitability are valuable tools to focus a prospect on doing something about reducing the costs. That’s where buying from you comes into the picture. Buying your products or services are what can help reduce costs.
Your questions to ask would be, “What happens when (problem occurs)? How does that impact your people, department or profits? How much time are we talking about? What is the time worth? Does it impact other areas? At what cost?” All these questions quantify the problem. The answers quantify the problem in dollars which is the universal language of business.
Strategic selling is asking the questions that guide a customer to buy. Asking the money questions get your customers buying sooner. Are you asking your customers the money questions?