Topic: The Sales Process (Part Two) --By Sandy Bloomsford -- Bloomsford Entrepreneurship Academy

Questioning - the purpose of questioning during sales process is to confirm or discover the strongest or unique perceived organizational benefit that would accrue to the prospect from the product/service - it may be one (usually) or two ( occasionally) or three ( rarely) key things, which may be obvious to seller and buyer, or not obvious to either, in which case questioning expert is critical .

Other purpose of questioning includes;
  • Questioning must discover how best to develop the sales with the organization -how they decide, when , people and procedures involve competitor pressure,  etc.
  • Good empathic questioning also builds relationships, trust and rapport - nobody wants to buy anything from a sales person who's only interest in their own product or comapny - we all want to buy from somebody who give the time and skill to interpreting and properly meeting our own personal needs.
  • Use open question to get information - for example, question beginning with who, what, where, when and how.
  • Use "can you tell me about how........ " if you are questioning a senior level contact- generally the more senior the contact ,the bigger the open question you can ask, and the more the other person will be comfortable and able to give you the information you need in a big explanation.
  • What and how .....? Are the best word to use in open question because they provoke thinking and respond see about fact and feeling in a non- threatening way.
  • Use 'why? to find out reason and motives beneath the initial answers given, but be very careful and sparing in using 'why' because the word 'why ? is threatening to most people - it causes the other person to feel they have to defend or justify themselves,  and as such will not bring out the true situation and feelings, especially in early discussions with people when trust.
  • Listen carefully and empathetically, maintain good eye contact, understand,  and show that you understand - especially understand what is meant and felt, not just what is said, particularly when you probe motive and personal aspects
  • Interpret and reflect back and confirm your interpretation - a close question is one that can be answered with a yes or no.
  • When you've asked a question - SHUT UP - do not interrupt.
  • Your prospect should be doing 80%-90% of the talking during this stage of the sales call; if you are talking for a third or half of the time you are not asking the right sort if question.
  • If during the questioning you think of a new important question to ask note it down or you'll forget it.
  • Do not jump onto an opportunity and start explaining how you can solve the problem untill you have asked all Your questions and gathered all the information you need ( in any event never be seen to 'jump" onto any issue)
  • All the time try to find out the strategic issues affected or implicated by the product / service in question - these are where the ultimate decision- making and buying motive lie.
  • When you have all the information you need, acknowledge the fact and say thanks, then take a few moments to think about, discuss and summarize the key issues/ requirements /priorities from your prospects organizational (and personal if applicable ) perspective
  • Questioning is traditionally treated by conventional sales people as a process to gather information to assist the sales person's process; however,  modern sales methodology treats questioning in a radically different way - as an essential part of a facilitative process whose purpose is to help thebuyerdecide.
~ Sandy Bloomsford 

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