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(3.) Their perspective. Not only do you need to ask the right questions and do so by thinking from the perspective of the customer. How do you reach their perspective? It starts off with an understanding of their business and here are a few steps that I like to go through: First off, after all of the research you have conducted, boil it down in terms of the kind of company you’re dealing with. Do you understand how this company went to market and how big of a market share they have? Who are their competitors? Even if you can’t sell to this particular company, consider the possibility that their competitors have the potential to become your next leads. So actively seek out that kind of information, determine their go-to-market strategy and how they make money. What’s their distribution strategy? How do things operate within the company? And once you understand how things operate there, you have a sense of the kind of departments they’re likely to have, the services they’re likely to need, and learn about why they would be more willing to expend more resources in one area than another. Understanding the business of your customer is what’s going to help you ask better questions. (4.) And, finally, provide explanations Some people are so afraid to ask the obvious question, thinking that that’s what’s going to end the sale. But let’s just say that that terrible fear was realized. After asking the obvious question, your customer looks back at you with a question mark as if to say, “I can’t believe you’re asking such an obvious question.” You need to be ready for that moment just like any moment in sales. Be ready for anything that you can anticipate and say to them, “Well, the reason I’m asking is…” and then deliver an answer which sounds credible and basically translates into, “Because in the analysis of my prospects, I need to learn certain things about my customers’ business in order for me to evaluate whether or not I am qualified to deliver that service to you, and I wanted to make sure because I have an obligation to you to understand your problem and figure out early on if I can bring any value to the equation.” This is the reason to ask obvious questions. Below are helpful questions to keep in mind as you’re conducting research or trying to think from the perspective of your customer: Have you ever considered buying from us in the past? Do you work with any of our competitors? Why them? Why not us? How come we haven’t already done business together? Why did you buy the services you have now? How do you determine the budget for new services? How does your business make money? What has to happen for your company to exceed its goals? What has to happen for your department to exceed its goals? Is your department affected if sales increase or decrease? How is your department affected by changes in the marketplace? Are people in your department worried about losing their jobs? How did you obtain your current position? Are your customers, partners, and distributors global, national or local? What would we have to do to gain your business? Who does your company compete against? How does your company gain a competitive edge over your competitors? And don't be afraid to ask obvious questions. Embrace it and keep these 4 reasons behind asking at the forefront of your mind: