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How Questions Help us Focus on the Reasons Buyers Purchase By Steve Martinez

Lets say I want to buy a nail from you, will you ask me why? Or, will you take my order and sell me what I think I need? Will you give me a demonstration on why your nails are superior to the competition? Or, will you ask me questions on how I will use the nails?

One reason people fail in sales is a strong belief they must sell their product or service to everyone. I met someone who held this strong belief this weekend when he said “everyone is a potential customer”. This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this. I worked in an industry where this belief was part of its culture. The sales strategy was to focus on presenting features and benefits.

During this era I spent countless hours learning how to demonstrate copier and fax systems, including memorizing sales scripts for each product. We held contests to test our presentation skills and our knowledge of the products and services we sold. This worked well and we sold plenty of equipment. The difference then, was that it was an emerging product line when everyone was a potential customer. This sales strategy doesn’t work well in mature markets.

How a Little Product Knowledge Can be Dangerous…

If we sold nails to customers, we should learn everything there is to know about nails. Perhaps we would review product specifications and test our knowledge so we know all the inside information on nails. We might have sales demonstration contests that teach us how to present the superior benefits and features of our nails and why they are better than the competition. These sales exercises and the focus on our product might be a hazard for some salespeople. This is particularly true if sales training focused only on the product and not the questions to ask.

Focus on the Reason and Application…

Having strong product knowledge is important. However, product knowledge is not as important as learning the questions to ask. A sales person should learn the reasons for using the product too. A good sales person will learn the benefits and problems the product will resolve so they can use this information in questioning prospects about the application.

Remember the story about selling me a nail? If you asked why I needed a nail, you might learn that I want to hang a very special, heavy picture that weighs about twenty pounds. You might learn that the picture is a valuable family keepsake worth more to me than any object in my home. With that in mind, you would realize that a nail won’t do the job. Your questions allow you to understand my purpose and goal. My wanting to hang a personal and priceless heavy object would change your recommendation because a nail won’t do the job.

It is important to learn the reasons why a prospect or a customer will need our products or services. When we understand what the reasons, goals and purposes are, we will know how to solve our customer’s needs. Questions accomplish this task better than presentations.
Steve Martinez teaches businesses how to increase sales by automating the best practices of sales. Visit www.SellingMagic.com.