Sales and marketing go hand in hand. They need each other for a business to grow steadily. Many of us sell even when we don’t have a job title that suggests it.
Business owners, attorneys, CPAs, even plumbers often have to sell in order to do their work. However, many people who do sell as part of their job role haven’t had any formal sales training. Thus, they have lower closing ratios than trained salespeople. Now’s the time to close that gap by learning where most sales are lost.
Sales is a process when done correctly. You start by building some rapport with the buyer, then move in to the selling steps. The first selling step is the crucial one where you learn about the buyers’ needs. How do we do that?
We ask questions. Lots and lots of them. Ones we’ve rehearsed, written down, discussed with our team and chosen for their ability to zero in on the buyers’ pain points and real needs.
Many people in the sales process don’t ask enough questions. They don’t have them scripted and they worry that they’re actually bothering the buyer if they ask too many. Funny thing is that when a buyer is asked really good questions they often learn something about their situations they might not have already known and that makes them appreciate and respect the person doing the questioning.
How many needs should you uncover?
Another thing you should know about this phase is that you shouldn’t stop until you have uncovered at least 2 or 3 needs for your product or service. Over eager salespeople will often go for the sale after 1 need has been established. That’s a tenuous grip on a sale. You are much better off if you find multiple needs that you can satisfy.
Want to make it even more likely that you can make a sale? Establish an emotional need. Once someone is emotionally invested in solving a problem you are in really good shape. Just think of the guy who goes in to a jewelry store looking for an engagement ring. Do you think they are emotionally invested in that purchase? You bet!
When someone is emotionally invested they are typically less concerned about the price and more interested in finding a solution asap. This is a great combination.
How to do this well
If you have lost sales in the recent past think back to the conversation you had with the buyer. Did you ask a lot of questions? Did you establish clear need for what you have to offer? Was there a moment when you realized it wasn’t a good fit, but pushed for the sale anyway? Reflection on your process will almost always help you close more sales in the future.
If you don’t have a list of great questions to ask, then you should invest the time necessary to do so. Get together with someone who understands your product or service and figure out what you need to know about a buyer’s situation and draft up the best questions to ask to find out.
This discovery phase is incredibly important in the sales process. In my opinion it’s where most sales are lost. Let me know if you agree or disagree and share some of your best questions with me in the comments.
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