Those of you who work with me (or read my columns) know that I am a big proponent of questioning strategy for successful sales. Your questions drive your customer to understand there’s a need, it’s an important one and why he has to buy now. There are other questions that are just as important for your selling. These are the questions you have to ask and answer yourself.
How can I help my customers get ready to buy?
I often say that customers don’t know what customers don’t know. Here’s a perfect example. There are some people who think they are tax experts. They use TurboTax. They don’t realize the value of paying for a CPA’s services.
One CPA recently told me that if he were using TurboTax, he could place the same numbers in different sections in TurboTax. He would come up with three different tax amounts if he did. Most untrained TurboTax users wouldn’t know the different options. They certainly wouldn’t be sure that they were paying the lowest amount of taxes.
One way to create a sense of buying urgency is to share the possible mistakes that a buyer could make if he doesn’t buy your products. You might be uncomfortable saying that your prospect could make the mistake. Instead, you can speak about how you acquired other business because of the mistakes that other customers made.
Just remember, if a prospect isn’t ready to buy now, you should put them back in an earlier stage of your sales process that corresponds to their stage of buying. It might mean less of your contact time or a different, less expensive type of contact. You might change to telephone instead of face-to-face sales calls.
How can I nurture my business?
Sometimes salespeople miss sales because they forget about a prospect. They let the prospect fall through the cracks. These prospects would have been viable prospects. They just were not viable prospects now. Your sales process must prevent your losing a potential sale.
Instead, nurture your business so you don’t forget about a prospect. How can you do that? You think about how to make relevant points of contact with them. This keeps you top of mind and enhances your credibility. You are the one they call when they’re ready to buy.
You can send useful information if you know your prospects’ interests. You can send relevant business information when you read it. A business referral is the best way to be remembered and stay top of mind. It also taps into the very powerful persuasion strategy of reciprocation. People feel obligated to give something back when they get something.
Who are you partnering with?
You make it much easier for you to sell when you have other people recommending you to others. Who is likely to know or sell to the same people who can buy or influence the buyers of your products? These are the people you should be meeting with regularly.
Here’s an example. A commercial real estate broker has clients who want to move into new facilities. They want to reduce their energy costs when they do. A good networking partnership for an energy broker is a commercial real estate broker.
Your customer can answer your questions during your sales call. Now you know the questions you must answer before you get to your customer.