One of the keys to success in sales is knowing what the buyer is thinking. If you can predict what might be going through your prospect’s mind, you’ll be well-positioned to address any questions or concerns ahead of time. Marketing expert Jeffrey Gitomer tells a story about an experience he had with a prospect. While Jeffrey was giving his sales pitch, the prospect was writing furiously on a legal pad. The pace and magnitude of what he was writing seemed to bear no resemblance to what Jeffrey was actually.
So, he did what every sentient sales professional should do in that situation: he stopped talking and asked the prospect something like, "What in the world are you writing on that pad? It seems to bear no resemblance to what I’m saying." The buyer responded, “Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude. I've just got this long list of questions that I need to ask and answer for myself before I feel good about doing business with a vendor.”
Jeffrey, not being timid, said, “Well, maybe you should give me that list of questions because I still have 20 minutes left in my presentation. Maybe I could help you address some of them.” At that point, the buyer said something like, "Well, how about you just do the rest of your presentation and we’ll see if we buy from you. I’ll make you a deal: if we do buy from you, I'll give you my list of questions." Fortunately for Jeffrey, he made the sale. And fortunately for us, he got the list of questions which he shared in his e-book, “Buying Motives: Little E-Book of Why People Buy.”
Today, I’d like to share a list of questions that will help you determine what your buyer is actually thinking (adapted from Gitomer’s e-book). Keep this list in mind the next time you approach a new prospect, and consider how you might help your prospect come to the right conclusions:
- What do you offer?
- What do you offer that no one else has?
- What do you offer of value?
- Does it really fit my need?
- It is real world?
- Will it work?
- Will it work in our environment?
- How will it impact our people?
- How could it impact our success?
- Will senior or executive management buy in?
- Will my people use it?
- How will we produce as a result of the purchase?
- How will we profit as a result of the purchase?
- Do I trust the people I’m buying from?
- Do I trust their ability to deliver what they promise?
- How will it come together?
- How do we buy it?
- Do I have the comfort to sign off now?
Note that the topic of price is absent from the list. Think about it. If you don’t trust a vendor, does it really matter if the proposed price is high or low?
You can buy a copy of Gitomer’s e-book HERE.
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