Features and Benefits versus Knowing How to Sell

I had a landscaper install a new sprinkler system the other day, and as we stood under the warming sun waiting for his crew to set up he asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a sales trainer (this is the easiest answer as for some reason as soon as I add “inside sales” to anyone out of the industry, they have no idea what I’m talking about).

He immediately made the mistake that most companies and managers and even sales reps make when he next said, “Product knowledge is what it’s all about. You have to know your products.”

When I corrected him by saying product knowledge takes second place to qualifying a prospect and discovering unique buying motives, he seemed genuinely confused. I explained:

“Most companies spend hours, days and even weeks training their sales reps on each product and service, and then about a day (or a couple of hours) on how to sell them. This results in a knowledgeable sales team that is quick to list features and benefits until the cows come home. This creates a lot of conversations, but not a lot of sales.”

“What should they be doing?” he asked.

And that’s when I asked him how he would go about selling me a pencil.

He thought about it for a while and then launched into – you bet – a list of features and benefits about a pencil.

I let him go on for a while until he was out of ideas (you can only talk about the color yellow and the use of an eraser for so long), and then I asked him: “What if I don’t even use pencils?”

That stumped him.

And that’s the whole point. Most sales reps sell just like he does: leading with features and benefits sure that if they just say the right one or ones, in the right order or combination, then prospects will eventually see some value and say, “Ah! I’ve got to have that! Thank you so much for calling!”

As Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working out for you?”

The proper way to sell a pencil – and your product or service – is to first qualify for need and unique buying motives, and then match up the appropriate features and benefits to fit those defined needs.

So using the “how to sell a pencil” analogy, it doesn’t begin by pitching the attributes of a pencil, rather, it starts by uncovering the need for one (or for a thousand). It begins with a series of questions like:

“How do you use pencils in your facilities?”

“How many pencils do you go through in a month? A year?”

“Who orders the pencils?”

“What’s important to you in a pencil?”

“How many pencils do you usually order at a time?”

“Where do you get your pencils from now?”

“Why do you get them there?”

“When was the last time you compared suppliers of pencils?”

“If you were to change suppliers, what would be important for you in the next vendor?”

“Besides yourself, who makes the decision to order pencils?”

“How about in your other facilities?”

And on and on… Now, I can just hear some of you thinking, “But Mike, a prospect isn’t going to sit still for all these questions!” Well, maybe yes, maybe no. I’ll tell you now, non-buyers won’t sit still, but most buyers will. And that’s a clue as to who might buy from you and who won’t.

The bottom line is that you can’t sell without knowing if there is a need and interest. And if you get some of the answers above, then you’ll know exactly how to pitch and how to sell.

If you don’t, you’ll just go through your list of features and benefits and when you get to the end, you’ll cross your fingers and hope someone buys.

I don’t know about you – but that’s a horrible way to make your way through life in sales.

How to Build Instant Rapport with “C” Level Executives

I was asked by a client to make some cold calls into an upper “C” level suite to set appointments for his outside sales team, to show the inside team how it’s done. His inside team first of all had trouble getting these busy people on the phone, and then getting past the first paragraph of their script before getting cut off.

I had listened to these calls and immediately recognized the problem: the reps weren’t taking the time to immediately assess the prospect’s mood and connect with them, therefore they were coming off like sales reps — and the executives who they did reach weren’t having any of that…

If you call into the upper “C” suites, here is what I did (and you should be doing) to connect with and give yourself a chance to have a conversation with them.

1) First of all, before you leave a voice mail, try calling three to five times to try and reach them first. Vary the times of your calls, and on same day and on different days, to see if you can reach them.

I have done this for many years and it’s amazing how lucky you’ll get if you just persevere.

2) When you do get them on the phone, immediately assess their style of communication by how they answer the phone. Are they in a hurry? Are they a driver? Or, are they laid back? Relaxed and at lunch?

It’s crucial that you match their pacing and their energy or else you’ll just telegraph that you’re a sales rep who is going to waste their time.

For example: When one COO answered the phone, he was short and somewhat demanding. I immediately said: “John, thanks for picking up the phone, I’ll make this brief…” Then I went into a two sentence value statement and asked him a question. He was appreciative that I didn’t begin reading a sales pitch at him and gave me a considered answer to my question.

3) This is important: If you find someone who seems somewhat laid back or at least not in a hurry to bite your head off, then connect with him by talking about something else – briefly – before you pitch him.

For example, I called into a company and the hold music was the rock song, “Sweet Home Alabama.” When the prospect picked up the phone, I immediately complimented him on the hold music and asked him if that was his personal choice. He said it came with the phone system and we talked about the song briefly. Only after that did I tell him who I was and begin my pitch.

This technique also works well with subjects like the weather (is it hailing there, too?), and the day of the week “I hope Monday is treating you O.K.” or “I don’t know about you, but I’m happy it’s Friday…”

By the way, it’s always best to lead off with these kinds of rapport building techniques before you announce your name and company name. If you announce first, then you’ve put the “salesman” target on your forehead and it’s too late. But the key is you must have the right personality to do this with. If you try this with a driver, your call will end right there…

4) Be absolutely prepared to overcome the “I wouldn’t be interested,” blow off. You must have an effective comeback to that blow off memorized and be ready to rapid fire it off, because if you get that from a “C” level exec, then you’ve got a nano-second to recover.

I like something along the lines of: “That’s fine and I’m not trying to sell you something today. Instead, I think I have an alternative solution for you r (XYZ), and just want to find the best way to show it to you – believe me, you’ll be happy you learned about it…”

5) “Briefly” is a word that gives you the best shot of giving your next couple of sentences. Try: “_________, thanks for taking the call, briefly, what I’m calling you about is….” And then make it BRIEF. Get to a question quickly to either engage your prospect or give him the chance to tell you he’s still not interested or he’s not the right guy/gal, etc..

The point is to engage your prospect – not talk at them.

6) Let your prospect talk! After you’ve got your two sentences in (better make them good!), it’s time to let your “C” level executive talk. DON’T interrupt. Hit your Mute button. These guys and gals are used to talking and to having people listen. If you do that, you’ll gain their respect and they’ll give you a chance to speak when it’s your turn (usually).

The point of all these tips is that you have to connect with your “C” level exec and meet them on their level. You can’t just go into your pitch at your own speed and expect them to politely listen. They won’t.

But if you follow the above techniques, you’ll at least separate yourself from all your competition who is calling them, and you’ll have the best chance of actually connecting with them and having a chance to get your value statement across.

How to Overcome the “We are Handling That In House”

If you are trying to set appointments for an outside sales team, or even if you’re trying to generate leads so you can do an over the phone demo later, then you know all about put offs and stalls. While I’ve previously discussed the common ones like, “I’m not interested,” and “Just email me something,” there others that are somewhat harder to overcome…

One of the more frequently encountered objections is “We handle that in house so we don’t need you.”

Many sales reps are taught the normal, “old school” approaches of things like:

“That’s fine, but when was the last time you did an apples to apples comparison to what it might run you if you outsourced that?”

OR

“But if I could show you a way to save money, then surely you’d want to know more about it, wouldn’t you?”

While either of these responses can be used effectively in the right situation, there is a better way to handle this objection. What you want to do is offer value in your visit or demo, and then leave it up to your prospect to decide if it’s worth taking your call or visit any further after you have.

Try the following rebuttal (obviously, customize this to your particular service or product):

Objection: “We handle that in house.”

“That’s fine – glad you have a way that’s working for you now. Here’s what I’d recommend you do though: I’d be happy to drop by and show you how we’d go about taking care of that for you, and what our processes would look like.

At the end you may still choose to keep doing it the way you are, but at least you’d have a different perspective on it and you may even find some ways to save money or time. The visit wouldn’t take long and everyone we visit with finds a benefit.

What’s a good time for you next week…”

As you can see here, you’re not pitching necessarily, instead you’re offering to enlighten them as to a better way. What they do after that is up to them.

Try using this for the next couple of weeks and see if you can get past prospect’s natural resistance to setting up a meeting. If you use it consistently, you’re going to set more appointments, open more doors and close more sales.

In Sales The Most Important Thing to Say is….

I know, it’s a catchy and kind of a trick title, isn’t it?

And when I ask audiences what they think it is, they guess things like:

“Asking for the sale!”

“When would the customer like delivery?”

“How many units do they want?”

Things like that. All these are good guesses – they are all closing questions and these are arguably the most important things to say, but the number one most important thing to say is…

Nothing.

That’s right, remaining silent after asking a qualifying question or using a tie down or a trial close, or – and this is especially difficult for most sales reps – when the prospect gives an objection (because a prospect will often explain his or her reasoning), and so remaining silent at these moments actually is your most powerful tool.

The reason for this is that your prospect or customer has all the answers as to why they’ll buy or not buy, as to what you need to say to steer them towards the close, and to what objections or obstacles you need to overcome – and how to overcome them.

The problem for 90%+ of sales people is that they want to talk instead of suffer through what they interpret as an uncomfortable silence. But it is just this silence that will always encourage your prospect to reveal more, and the more they reveal the more insight and leverage you’ll have to close the sale.

So how can you get good at not saying anything? Simple: use your mute button. For most reps, the mute button is something they seldom use (do you even know where yours is?), and if they do occasionally use it, it’s to put a prospect on hold to get some information or look something up.

But for top sales producers, the mute button is the most powerful button on the phone. Here’s how to use it:

#1: First of all, locate it, start practicing using it – you know, get comfortable with the time delay (if any) between when you turn it on and turn it off. Reassure yourself that there is no ‘clicking’ noise and that it is absolutely seamless.

#2: Know when to use it. This is simple, actually. Whenever you ask a question of a prospect, hit your mute button. DO NOT unmute yourself until your prospect is done with his/her thought and done speaking.

In fact, put a two to three second delay between when you think they are done and when you unmute. This is crucial…

Special Tip Here: Contrary to what you think, your prospect does not need to hear your ‘um’s’ and ‘uh’s’ to evidence you’re listening. The more absolute quiet there is, the more comfortable they’ll feel – and the more they will talk.

#3: Get in the habit of encouraging them to talk even more by unmuting yourself (after they are done) and asking, “Oh?” or “What else?” or “What do you mean exactly?” Then mute yourself again and let them answer.

#4: Take notes while they talk. Write down any words or phrases they say and make it a point to feed these back to them later in the conversation. This will show them you are actively listening, and they will be more receptive to common words and phrases they use often.

#5: The mute button is good for prospecting calls as well! Don’t just use it during the close. In fact, your tip is that whenever your prospect is talking, you need to be on mute.

The treasure of information you’ll get by listening and not interrupting is beyond valuable. Not only will you get the exact reasons and motives needed to close the sale (or objections to avoid or overcome), but you’ll get something else just as valuable: You’ll gain trust and confidence.

Everyone loves to be heard; loves to be listened to. Most sales people are distrusted and disliked because they are pushy and make it seem as if it’s all about them. You can immediately reverse this by becoming a great listener.

Quick last story: Just the other day I was speaking with a new prospect and, employing the mute button, the call went for an hour and forty minutes. The prospect probably talked for an hour and fifteen minutes of that time.

When the call finally ended, he told me how much he enjoyed the conversation and how much he was looking forward to the next call. And all I did was ask pointed questions and then listened while on mute…

So there you have it: the most important thing to say in sales is…..nothing!

Asking for Help is a Great Way to Get Information

Everyone loves to be helpful. Because of this, you have a great opportunity to learn more about your prospects and clients if you learn how to ask the right questions at the right times.

Here are some examples of how asking for help, at the right time, can give you a treasure trove of useful information you can use to position your product or service to the right person.

When prospecting, if you don’t know the person or department you need to speak with, there is no better opening then:

“Hi, I need a little bit of help please…”

Now the crucial thing here is not to then ask a question. Instead, what’s important is that you actually wait for the other person to offer to help you first. As soon as they say, “What do you need?” or “I can help you,” that’s when you reply with something like:

“Thanks. I’m looking for the person who handles your lead generation, who would that be please?”

If they don’t know the name, then be prepared with:

“Perhaps you could point me to the right department then?”

Asking for help in this way is also useful when you ask for someone and they aren’t there any longer. Also, it’s great for when you do reach someone and they turn out to be the wrong contact. When that happens use:

“Oh I see. Perhaps you can help then. Who would be the best person to speak with…”

OR

“I see. Can you point me in the right direction please?”

OR

“O.K., perhaps you can help me: who would be the best person for me to speak with in terms of ordering your XYZ supplies?”

These techniques are great for finding the right person or department to speak with. But the power of this technique goes far beyond that. Use the following types of “help” questions once you do reach the appropriate prospect:

“Perhaps you can help me understand how you handle your XYZ process. How do you get involved in that?”

AND

“__________, we have a lot of solutions that may be a fit, but I don’t want to bombard you. Perhaps you can help give me a brief understanding of who handles what, and then I’ll be able to know who would be the best person for some of this. Let’s start with you – what do take care of there?”

AND

“_________, could you help me understand how this flows at your company? Who handles XYZ…?”

AND

“_________, help me understand how the decision process works over there. How do you get involved?”

AND

“__________, I need a little bit of help to understand your org chart – who do you report to?”

AND

“Perhaps you can help me: I’m sure you’ve got a lot of people handling different things, let’s start with the part of the process you handle: what is that?”

Layer with:

“And who handles the other parts?”

As you can see, there are a lot of applications for the “I need a little bit of help, please” technique. Now a word of caution: don’t underestimate how powerful this is. While it seems simple, it is actually a very effective technique if used appropriately.

When asking for help, genuinely mean it. Use your voice inflection and timing. Remember to always wait for them to offer to help you!

If you master this technique you’ll find that you won’t have to work so hard to find things out. People, because they sincerely want to help, will help you – if you ask.

How to Develop an Effective Elevator Pitch

Many inside sales reps (outside reps, too!) struggle when trying to describe their company, products and services, in a succinct and compelling way that engages a prospect and makes them want to hear more.

Instead, a typical opening delivered to an unsuspecting prospect usually sounds more like a monologue meant to repel interest and generate the impulse to get off the phone as soon as possible. I’m sure you’ve been accosted in this way with something like:

“Oh hi, this is _______ _______ with ________ and my company, XYZ, is a leader in national and international shipping and freight services with offices in the top metropolitan cities across the world. We offer one of the lowest overall freight charges on transportation, and also on packaging and supplies. We’re going to have a representative in your city next week and we’d love to stop by to share some information with you and learn more about your business to see how we can help save you money and time as well. Would you be available next Wednesday at 2pm or would Thursday at 4pm be better?”

And companies and sales reps wonder why they aren’t successful…

Rather than break down everything that is wrong with this opening (how about everything?), what I’m going to do instead is give you two rules for developing an effective elevator pitch and then some examples that you can plug your product or service into.

Here are the two rules:

1) Make it brief – one sentence is best, two short ones if absolutely necessary.
2) Focus it on the direct benefits to your specific type of customer.

Remember, this is an “elevator pitch” designed to inform and grab interest in a prospect during the time you’re in an elevator together. Try working with the examples below:

Elevator pitch example #1:

“ _________, we work with small business owners helping them save on average 20% on their shipping costs while also increasing their efficiency and tracking. To see how we can help you, I’d like to schedule a brief, 10 minute meeting next week…”

Elevator pitch example #2:

“ ___________, we make inside sales teams as much as 33% more productive by providing them with a best practice approach that helps them cold call more effectively and close more qualified prospects. This means an immediate bump in revenue and profits often within the first 30 days…”

Elevator pitch example #3:

“ ________ the ABC company gives homeowners complete peace of mind by eliminating routine maintenance costs and insuring against unexpected expenses. I’ve got just two questions to see which of our plans might work for you….”

Elevator pitch example #4:

“ _________, our motto is: “A guaranteed comfortable night’s sleep or your money back.” Now, have you ever tried this luxury brand of mattress before?”

Elevator pitch example #5:

“ __________, at XYZ advertising, our small business clients get the most comprehensive online exposure, the certified highest traffic and the most qualified leads in the industry – all at the guaranteed lowest rates. Where are you currently advertising online now?”

As you can see by the above elevator pitches, not only are they short and focused on the benefits to a specific customer “small business owner” or “homeowner,” but they often end with a qualifying question, “have you ever tried,” and “where are you currently advertising online now?”

By ending with a qualifying question, you are not only engaging your prospect, but you’re also learning about their buying motives and uncovering their level of interest as well.

Take some time now to develop your own, concise and compelling elevator pitch and then replace your monologue with a more effective opening. Your customers (and your bank account) will thank you for it.

5 Ways to Get Better at Handling Objections

I coach a lot of sales professionals, one on one, in individual sessions every week. Sales managers, business owners and also individual sales reps who are committed to moving into the top 20% or op 5% of their profession.

Prior to working with someone, I send out a “coaching intake” form that they fill out and return to me prior to our first session. This gives me insight into their particular sale, what they want to work on, what’s standing in their way, and what they hope to accomplish during our time together.

When working with individual sales reps, one of the most common requests I get is that they would like to get better at handling objections. I tell them all the same thing: “If you just do exactly as I’ll teach you to do, then in 60 days, you will know exactly how to handle objections, and you will no longer be scared when your prospect or client brings one up.

In fact, I tell them, you’ll even welcome them!

So what’s the secret? Well, there are five of them, really. And I’ve listed them below. If you want to get better at handling objections, if you want to confidently learn to handle or overcome them like the top pros, then simply follow the secrets below:

Secret number one: Take time to carefully script out rebuttals to the common objections you get day in and day out. Remember, the best thing about sales is that you get the same objections, stalls and put offs over and over again. You already know what’s coming!

The true pros recognize this and take the time to script out best practice responses to them, so when they get them, they can confidently and effectively handle them.

Other sales reps still choose to adlib their responses which means they are making up one poor response after another. This is why they are discouraged and unsuccessful.

So take some time right now and script out your best practice responses so you’ll never have to scramble for what to say again!

Secret number two: Memorize your best practice responses. Don Shula – the famous Miami Dolphin coach – once said that his players practiced, drilled and rehearsed their plays and techniques over and over again so they could internalize them and act automatically without thinking when they needed to.

He said that football moves so fast that: “If you get into a situation and have to think about what to do next, it’s already too late.”

Same thing in sales. By internalizing your best practice responses to objections, you’ll be able to handle them automatically, without thinking or stressing.

Secret number three: To effectively memorize your rebuttals, you’ll need to put in some time. The most effective way to memorize and internalize them is to record them into a recording device (and you’re already carrying one of these around in your pocket – all smart phones have one), and then listen to them 30 to 50 times.

This is the same thing you did with your favorite song, and it works for rebuttals to objections as well. In fact, you’ll even remember the exact inflection and pacing as well, so make your recording a confident one!

Secret number four: Record yourself and listen to how you sound when delivering your rebuttals. Listen for if you’re using the right rebuttal to the objection your prospect or client just gave you.

By recording yourself, you’ll learn tons of things that will make you better, including how to deliver your rebuttals more convincingly. You’ll also learn whether or not your rebuttal is the best one to use – which leads me to secret number five.

Secret number five: Be prepared to revise your rebuttals often. After listening to your sales calls over and over again, you’ll find ways to improve. Perhaps a rebuttal can be shortened? Maybe it can include a few key words or phrases? Perhaps you could deliver it with a bit more energy? Or less energy?

Never stop learning, critiquing and getting better. The top professionals in any industry are always adapting, always learning and always improving. You should, too.

So there you have it: the five ways to get better at handling objections. If you’re truly committed to becoming one of the best producers in your company or industry, then commit to using the secrets above.

I guarantee that if you do, your career and your life will change in exciting and fulfilling ways.

How to Requalify Existing Prospects and Clients

One area many sales reps struggle in is how to requalify existing accounts, or prospects they haven’t spoken with in a while. Let’s first establish the need to do this, and we’ll address exactly how to do it.

First let’s acknowledge that all things change. In fact, someone once said that the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. It’s constant. And that means that just because a prospect or client was in charge of a certain function last month or 6 months ago, it doesn’t mean they are in charge of it today.

In addition to their duties changing, their areas of responsibilities change also. Someone who was responsible for handling lead flow may now also be in charge of ordering those leads. Or someone who was responsible for one area of the business (and ordering) may have given that responsibility to someone else.

The bottom line is that it’s important to do more than just, “Oh hi, just calling to see if you need anything?” Today, it’s important that you requalify the person you’re speaking with and try to find as many opportunities as possible to sell your product or service.

One of the biggest problems sales reps have is knowing how to transition into requalifying. The resistance I get from sales reps is, “But I spoke with him three months ago! I already know what he does.”

“Yes,” I answer. “But how many times have you found that things have changed since then?”

If you’re honest, the answer is it changes all the time.

So what you need to begin the requalifying process is a good transition sentence, a soft approach, so you can begin requalifying and get the updated information that often makes the difference between a successful call and one that results in nothing at all.

Here are some examples of transition sentences. Remember to adapt them to fit your personality, your product and service:

Transition sentence one:

“________, since it has been a few months since we’ve spoken, let me just make sure my information is correct. Besides yourself, who else handles…”

[This is an assumptive way to find other decision makers in the company…]

Transition sentence two:

“___________, let me get up to date on things with you. I know that last time we spoke you said you handled (X); what else are you responsible for these days?”

Transition sentence three:

“Because things change all the time, let me just ask you a couple of quick questions to make sure I’m up on things on your end. For example, what other products are you handing these days?”

Transition sentence four:

“___________ I’m updating the information on all my accounts this month – do you mind if I just verify a few things?

Great! What is your current extension?

How about your direct phone number? Cell? Email?

And are you still the only contact for all the printing needs there?

What other things are you handling?

How about other departments – who would I want to speak with…

How about your need for (X) – where have you been sourcing that these days?

What would you need to see from us to begin placing an order for that also?

[I’m sure you can think of more…]

Transition sentence five:

“_________, I know the last time we spoke you told me you handled (X), is that still correct?

Great. What else are you in charge of?

How are you handling your (XYZ)?

What other departments are handling the (ABC’s)?

And what other products are you in charge of?

And remind me again of the decision process there?

How about timeline?

And besides yourself, who else would weigh in on this?

And so on…

As you can see, just because you think you know something about someone, you can still learn more. Think about it: When was the last time you were able to thoroughly qualify someone on the very first call? It probably took a few, didn’t it?

When you use these kinds of requalifying questions, you’ll be in a much better position to completely qualify an opportunity. And that can only lead to more business.

A Better Approach Than, “How are you today?”

Nothing signals a sales call more than that worn out opening, “How are you today?”

As soon as you ask that of someone you’ve not spoken to before, their immediate thought is, “Oh, here comes a sales pitch from someone I don’t want to talk to!”

If you don’t believe me, think about your own reaction when someone calls you at home or the office that you don’t know and asks you that? I cringe just thinking about it….and so do your prospects.

Wouldn’t you like to know a better opening? Wouldn’t you like to find something that doesn’t sound salesy, yet still breaks the ice and gets your prospect to respond positively?

Well I’ve got it for you.

I learned this opening working with a new client recently, and while at first I was suspicious of whether it would work or not, after listening to recordings, I found that it worked really well.

So well, in fact, that I now teach it to other clients and it works great for them also!

As you’ll see, it’s assumptive in nature (always a good thing), it gets your prospect to agree with you, and puts you in control to continue your opening. Use it word for word for a week, and I think you’ll agree:

“Hi _________, this is ________ ________ with (your company), I trust you’re doing well today?”

If you’d like to vary it a little, you can also say:

“Hi _________, this is ________ ________ with (your company), I take it you’re doing well today?”

OR

“Hi _________, this is ________ ________ with (your company), I hope your day is going well so far?”

As you can see, this opening invariably leads to a yes, and even a response of, “I hope yours is, too?”

The big difference here is that you’re going to finally stop sounding like every other sales rep out there and you’re going to stop telegraphing your sales call.

As with all these scripts, don’t take my word for it – try it yourself and see how it works for you. I’m sure, with a little practice, you’ll love how effective it is!

How to Qualify for Interest

Today it seems to be harder and harder for sales reps to qualify for interest and to identify buying motives.

One thing making this so difficult is the decision tree: often there are many different levels of decision makers (committees, bosses, regional managers, corporate, etc.), and sales reps often just skip any attempt to qualify for interest.

Instead, they just send their information or schedule their demo and hope for the best.

As you might suspect, the way around this is to be prepared with scripted questions that are assumptive in nature and that lead your prospect to reveal what the buying motives (or motivation in general) are for the various other departments and decision makers.

Use the following scripts (or customize them to fit your product or service), so you can gain an understanding of what the buying motives are and how to tailor your pitch to each group to close the sale:

Qualifying Question #1:

“ _________, why did you (or corporate/manager/boss) choose the solution you’re using now?”

Layer:

“And what are you (they) looking to improve upon now?”

Qualifying Question #2:

“If you were to pick one thing that would be a deal killer if it weren’t there, what would it be?”

Qualifying Question #3:

“What have you heard they’re (corporate, their manager, boss, etc.) specifically looking for in the next (your product or service)?”

Qualifying Question #4:

“Besides price, what else is important (to you, them, etc.)?”

Qualifying Question #5:

“I know that these (your solution) may seem to be all the same, but tell me, what will stand out for you…what’s the one or two things you’re really hoping to see?”

Qualifying Question #6:

“_________, what have you heard in terms of what the priorities are for adding this (your product/service)?

Layer:

“And what is the timeframe you’re hearing for implementation?”

Qualifying Question #7:

“Out of all the companies you’ve (or corporate/manager/boss) has seen so far, what looks the best to you?”

Layer:

“And why is that?”

Qualifying Question #8:

“If you had to pick one thing that this is going to come down to – you know, one thing that you think will be the deciding factor as to who you’ll (corporate/manager/boss) choose, what do you think that will be?”

Layer:

“Besides price, what’s next?”

Qualifying Question #9:

“__________, you haven’t made a change so far, just out of curiosity, what is motivating you to consider doing so now?”

Qualifying Question #10:

“__________, I know I called you out of the blue; I’m glad you’re interested in seeing what we have. Quick question for you, though: What do you think it will take to convince the (corporate/manager/boss)?”

I bet you can think of some of your own, can’t you?

The key to any sale is getting your prospect to tell you how to sell them. If you can do that, you’ll make your job much, much easier.