Do You Seek to Understand the Needs ?

The best way to begin the sales presentation is to ask questions and the purpose is to allow us to gather important information, which enables us to help our clients, AND just as important when we ask questions in a professional manner, we establish the most important aspect of the sales process – TRUST!

Ethics is the foundation upon which we must build a career. What is the difference between motivation and manipulation? The difference lies in the intent of the person. Motivation will cause people to act out of free choice and desire while manipulation often results in forced compliance. One is ethical and long lasting while the other is unethical and temporary.

By asking questions, we learn how the customer feels, we are far more likely to find out what the other person thinks. Most of us claim to make logical decisions but the reality is we make primarily emotional decisions. By combining emotion and logic, emotion makes the prospects take action now and logic enables them to justify the purchase later. Understanding and utilising the emotional AND the logical aspects of the sale will help all sales professionals become even more effective. Let the prospects see so that they will believe and let them hear so they will take action.

One of the strongest emotions we face is FEAR, fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain. Outstanding sales professionals are “word merchants” and “picture painters”. Words ARE the colours of the paints we use to illustrate our pictures of life. Choosing the proper colours (words) are a beautiful and exciting way to do exactly what we are trying to do – to pain vivid word pictures.

Three basic types of questions allow us to discover the needs and wants of our clients and potential customers. These questions whether emotional or logical – fall into one of these three categories. The first is Open Door Question. With the Open Door Questions, the wants, needs, desires, ideas, and opinions of the prospects are the focal points. Ask the questions and then listen. Salespeople are traditionally poor in this area. There is a direct correlation between our commission check/dollar volume results and our ability to ask Open Door Questions and then LISTEN TO THE ANSWERS.

The second kind of question is the Closed Door Question. It is designed to keep the prospects in a certain area for clarification or embellishment. This allows the ball to be moved back into the prospect’s side of the court, and many times, the prospect’s actions, words and thoughts will surface and our information base will be expanded. This would allow us to move into a more favourable position for future business.

One of the most important (and the least developed) sales tools is the salesperson’s voice. Anyone can improve the voice and substantial improvement is not an overnight project. We can improve by reading and recording our voices, play back and evaluate our own voice and remember to ask ourselves, “Would I buy from this person?”. We must learn the ability to relax as we speak – concentrating on the throat muscles. Make a conscious effort to open our mouth because many people with poor voices do not really open their mouths. Speak in front of a mirror to be sure that you are smiling as you speak and record. The smiling voice is a warm, open and friendly voice.

The third type of question is the YES or NO question. This question demands a direct response. However, we use this question only when we already know the answer. The danger of this kind of question is that if it is overused, it may be perceived as patronising. Use our own words and work within the framework of your own personality. These questions allow you to “test the waters” and check on your progress in the sales process. Our job is to interview, explore, and uncover customer wants and needs, not interrogate.

(Adapted from “The Ultimate Handbook for the Complete Sales Professional – Ziglar on Selling”, Chapter 6 – Questions Are the Answers – Beginning with Need Analysis, by Zig Ziglar)

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