Being Indirect with Clients
The rest of this blog may help you with your questioning technique and help to insure that you have some new life-long friends.
The following is another in the self-training extract from my book titled, “A Year of Selling Profitably.” I have had to adapt the book for individual consumption since it was originally written for group weekly sales meetings. I wrote it because I felt the genius in every company is already present and you just need a format—like weekly two hour sales meetings—to open it for sales development.
The purpose of this blog is to demonstrate the value of indirect questions in obtaining information. You should use the list of qualification questions you developed the last time as the basis for this week’s session.
Exercise 1 (15 MINUTES)
Review the differences between direct and indirect questions. Close yourself up in a room and talk out loud if it helps.
Describe how indirect questions result in valuable information dumps from the buyers, and direct questions result in uninformative responses such as “Yes.” “No.” “Maybe.” “I’ll get back to you.” and “Never.”
As we discussed in the previous blog, buyers will often give you vital clues about their goals, problems, objections to buying from you, personal interests and the characteristics they look for in vendors. In other words, indirect questions are the keys to “agenda selling”—the sales practice of attempting to learn the buyer’s personal agenda and the agenda of the buyer’s organization. The salesperson who can meet both agendas often wins the sale.
Exercise 2 (30 MINUTES)
Every individual is a buyer—a buyer of automobiles, clothing, insurance, appliances, investments, housing, etc. As buyers, we have frequently been “told” things by salespeople. Reflect on questioning, probing and listening skills that you have most appreciated when being sold. Force yourself to go into detail.
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.