If he had a long enough lever and a place to put the fulcrum, the Greek mathematician Archimedes said, he could move the world. “Leverage questions” offer that kind of power to salespeople. These are open-ended questions designed to uncover the hot-button emotional issues that actually drive a customer’s buying decision. What key benefits do buyers want to gain by making the purchase, either for their companies or, more critically, for themselves?
Three-quarters of the secret to professional, strategic selling boils down to asking the Best Questions and listening carefully to the answers. Most of the Best Questions have to do with uncovering the crucial, underlying needs your products or services might serve. But you also must know how to sell to a particular account. Using the same strategy for all customers is a big mistake. The issue is, how do you compete for this customer’s business?
You know your product, its features and its benefits. You have a well-rounded presentation that explains all of this, complete with visual aids. So why waste a prospect’s time with chit-chat? Shouldn’t you launch straight into your presentation?
In any major sale, a prospect makes a predictable series of buying decisions that lead up to the final purchasing decision. The first and most important of these is: “Do I ‘buy’ the salesperson?” This decision is always made before the prospect will seriously consider other factors such as product features or price.
Blessed with the “gift of gab” are you? That’s nice. But true sales professionals know that before they start gabbing to customers about their product features or anything else, they need to listen to what the customer has to say – and demonstrate that they’re paying attention. Customers won’t buy from you if they don’t like you, trust you or respect you…
Salespeople are expected to perform many duties, from market analysis to customer training. But in the end there is only one reason why a salesperson's job exists. Your principal mission is to Gain Commitment from customers. To do that, you have to know what you want the customer to commit to do and you have to ask for that commitment — every time.
Research shows that salespeople will never reach their performance potential without a well-defined sales-call procedure that they can follow and learn from. “Winging it” on sales calls has grim consequences – lost sales, extended sell cycles, margin erosion and no clear path to improvement. Bottom line: Your entire sales career can be mediocre if you “wing it.”
Customers will find reasons not to buy when your presentation is out of sync with their buying decisions. To increase your chances of success, you must sequence your presentation to follow the decisions of the customer. When you do, you’ll sell the customer on each buying decision. This is exactly how professional salespeople orchestrate their sales calls.