Sales Productivity

The Value of Question-Based Selling

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You’ll hear people say that consumers want to be sold to; however, I don’t necessarily buy that (pun intended). What consumers really want is to know how you can help them solve their problems.

As a sales leader, there is nothing more frustrating than hearing a rep “pitch” to a prospect when they’ve only been on the phone for 60 seconds or less. The first thing I ask when they get off the phone is what pain they were trying to solve while they were so busy pushing their own agenda.

In any sales call, the first half should hardly contain any product information at all, but instead be used to understand what challenges the prospect is facing in their current role. For our customers, this includes the pain they’re experiencing because they don’t have the tools and solutions in place to streamline their job function. Only after a rep understands this, can they begin describing how specific solutions might solve a buyer’s pain points.

What Does the Buyer Care About?

To illustrate how this feels from the consumer’s side, let’s use the example of you going into a dealership to buy a car. With a new baby at home, safety is of the utmost importance to you. What you really want the salesperson to tell you about is the crash safety ratings for the vehicle, and whether it has automatic emergency breaking and a lane departure warning system, but what the salesperson wants to tell you about is horsepower, torque and the engine. In this case, even though you’re an active buyer, you still may not make the purchase simply because the salesperson isn’t addressing what YOU actually care about.

In staying with the car buying example, if the salesperson had simply asked some probing questions, they could have addressed your specific needs. For example, they could have asked, “Why are you looking at this particular vehicle?” “What attributes are most important to you in a vehicle?” Knowing these simple things would drastically change the conversation and allow the salesperson to be specific in speaking directly to your points of interest.

How Will You Solve Their Pain Points?

A question I love to ask is, “If we could solve that problem, what would that mean to you?” This type of question not only allows us to truly understand our buyers, but also allows them to imagine a world where this challenge is alleviated from their lives altogether. And this is where value is added. There is no value in speeds and feeds of a product. The value is what it means to your buyer. If your product can give them quality of life or make them the hero within their organization, then the sale becomes a slam dunk.

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

As a seller, are you asking the right questions? Are you looking for answers so you can help solve pain points, or are you just trying to close? If you’re a sales leader or sales coach, are you helping your team ace the discovery process and coaching them to success?

Learn how you can do all this and more in our on-demand webinar, Ask Better Questions to Boost B2B Sales, with Deb Calvert, buyer-side researcher and question-asking expert. Discover how you can use questions to:

  • Improve sales forecasts
  • Identify and hire top performers
  • Make a greater impact as a sales coach
  • Speed up the sales process and engage buyers

Watch here!