Pop the Question

If closing profitable business, building long term relationships
and lasting competitive advantage is what you hope to achieve in sales,
then you need to develop closing techniques that don’t leave you or
your prospect feeling beaten up, manipulated or "hard done by"
at the end of the selling process. Too many times I see sales people
who are willing to do, and say, almost anything to get the sale. The
end result? A tenuous relationship between a client who never trusts,
who thinks their "sales person doesn’t understand what they really
need," and who feels they need to constantly shop the solution
to keep their sales rep "honest;" and a sales person who
resents his customer for being "too much work," and for
being ungrateful for "how I went to bat for them."

In short, nobody’s happy!

How do we change the way we close business to ensure that we maintain
strong, profitable and lasting relationships? First, we need to make
a fundamental shift in thinking around what we consider "closing
the sale" to be about.

Closing business today is not about wrestling your prospect to the
mat at the end of a long and confusing sales cycle. Today, closing
depends on gaining agreement with your prospect early and often, building
a series of mini agreements throughout the selling process. Getting
agreement from your prospect that there is a reason that you both
agree on to continue moving forward with the sales process, will ensure
that the deal is brought to a close easily and naturally.

"To ask the right question is already half the solution to the
problem" – Carl Jung. Successfully building a series of agreements
with your prospects throughout the sales cycles depends 100% on your
ability to ask the right questions. So what are the right questions
to ask your prospect? Questions that move the prospect from an intellectual
position of knowing that they have a problem that needs to be solved,
to an emotional state of trusting you to solve that problem in a way
that will satisfy them. The right questions are those questions that
reveal true buying motivations.

Try these 4 steps during your needs analysis to help you close more
deals and build lasting profitable customer relationships:

1. Identify the Intellectual Problem in 1 of 2 ways.

Open Ended Questions:

What’s the biggest challenge you are facing today in the area
of {x}?

Specific questions:

Our clients tell us that we help them solve problems in the
area of {x}. That’s not a problem for you, is it?

2. Develop Intellectual Awareness about this problem.

Can you tell me more about it?

Could you be more specific?

How long have you had this concern?

What have you done to address it?

How did that work out?

3. Getting emotional! Identify the specific business impact of this

How has this problem impacted your organization?

If you had to guess, what do you think this problem is costing your
department {company, business, etc}?

What will happen if this problem continues?

4. Getting emotional! Identify the specific personal impact of
this problem.

What impact does this problem have on your job {your staff}?

How important is this to you personally?

What will happen if you don’t find a solution to this problem?

Why is it so important?

If you are going to get engaged, you can’t just ask any old question.
Mastering the right questions will ensure that you and your client
build a strong relationship where you both succeed and profit.