Business Articles by Author - Mark Smock
Business Buyers Directory
Smock is President of www.business-buyer-directory.com,
international business buyer directory
of its kind. Business Buyer Directory
provides a non-traditional means for proactive
business buyers to locate businesses for
sale worldwide that meet their exact registered
Smock> Sales article
8 Key Questions to Ask in Every Sales Situation
- Mark Smock
people’s and organization’s problems is
ultimately what business is all about. Effective
selling involves defining your existing
or potential customer’s problems. If properly
“sold”, a sales prospect will have his problems
solved with your company’s products or services.
To be successful at selling, you must systematically
approach customers with a proven repertoire
of qualifying questions that allows you
to clearly understand your customer’s current
In order to most effectively solve your
customer’s problems you have to ask questions,
the “right” questions and most importantly,
listen to the answers you get. The best
source of information about a sales prospect’s
business problem is the prospect themselves.
However, any seasoned salesperson will tell
you that the customer does not always know
what their problem is, how it happened or
how to deal with it. Without a proven list
of problem definition questions, a salesperson
has little chance of achieving sales success.
In every selling situation, there are eight
fundamental questions that must be answered
to ultimately generate a purchase commitment,
a solution to your customer’s problems:
1) Does the customer
know exactly what the business problem is?
Are they giving you symptoms of a problem
or the problem itself?
2) How long has
the problem existed?
Is this a temporary situation or an ongoing
3) What will happen
if the problem continues?
Short and long term ramifications should
4) What has been
done thus far to address the problem?
This answer could be your “door opener”
5) What were the
results of those efforts to “fix” the problem?
Actions taken and money spent should be
6)What is the cost
thus far of this problem?
Here you can determine what it cost them
NOT to have your company’s products
7) Are there budgeted
funds available to “fix” this problem?
If there aren’t, why not and will there
be? If not, good luck!
8) Who is involved
and how is the purchase commitment to be
You must clearly understand who the decision
makers are and how the commitment decision
is to be made. If you do not, there will
always be “someone else” who will kill your
deal within the organization!
Once you have valid answers to all these
questions you can accurately determine whether
the products or services your company has
to offer can cost effectively solve your
customer’s problems. If your products or
services can solve your customer’s problem
you now have something to talk about!
Before you begin your sales pitch, your
explanation of how your offerings best meet
their needs, be absolutely sure that you
have all the decision makers at your presentation
and have confirmed the money is budgeted
to back up their purchases. If all the key
decision makers are not present and you
are not sure the funds are there to continue
the relationship your probability of achieving
sales success at this customer has been
One Final Question:
Ask for the Order!
You may be wondering why, “Asking for the
order” was not one of the “8 Key Questions
to Ask in Every Selling Situation”? When
you know your product or service can solve
your customer’s problem cost effectively,
and it is clear they understand and sincerely
appreciate the value of your product or
service offerings to a level of justification
that they can, and will, make a reasonable
purchase commitment to you, you have AN
OBLIGATION, not only to your company, but
to your customer, to ask them to buy what
your are selling! A simple way to do this
is to ask: “What do you want to do next?”
… say nothing more until they respond.
Effective selling can be as simple as striving
to get accurate answers to these fundamental
problem qualification questions. It is most
interesting to experience how systematically
going through these eight questions with
your potential customer will reduce their
tendency to generate purchase objections.
Also, there is an interesting relationship
or “bond” that develops between the salesperson
and the customer when they are asked to
explain and again experience why it cost
so much for them NOT to have your products
or services in their lives!
Today’s successful salesperson is a problem
solver. How you define your customer’s business
problems can often be as important as how
you eventually solve their problems. Use
these fundamental problem definition questions
as a format for your next sales call and
see what happens. They could be the edge
you need to get that order you thought you
would never get!
by Mark Smock
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