All truly great salespeople do two things exceptionally well.Dog Ears

The first is they completely focus on you. On your needs, not their need to get a sale at any cost.

The second is they ask insightful questions.

Questions specifically related to figuring out exactly what’s important to their prospects when it comes to the solution they’re looking for.

Questions designed to focus their prospects’ minds. To elicit evidence criteria for success. i.e. How will the prospect know they’ve got the solution they were looking for.

A client reported he’d had “great success” following our advice and asking one simple question.

He’s the MD of a successful high end home construction outfit. His question to both architects and end clients was, “What are you looking for in a builder?”

He was surprised people were really taken aback. No one had ever asked this question of them before. They had never even consciously thought about it. Note, I said consciously. Everyone has some form of criteria – your job is to tease it out so it can be defined.

Some of the answers were as you’d expect from an architect. Quality, cost and timeframes. One end client said, “Transparency”.

While cost and meeting timeframes is reasonably obvious, what do “quality” and “transparency” really mean? And why are they important in your prospects’ minds?

Drill down.

“Why is transparency important to you?”

You’re listening for an emotional reason. For example, “I don’t want to be ripped off, feel you’ve taken advantage of me and then regret my decision to go with you.”

They may not say it quite that explicitly, but they’re thinking it, believe me.

You need to get their worries out on the table so you can deal with them.

How will they know they’ve got what they want?

Ask “how” or “process” questions.

“How will you know if you’ve received quality?” or “How will you know we are being transparent?”

What would they see, hear, feel? Quantify their answers as much as possible.

Realise that what we think is important as a supplier may be completely inconsequential to your clients.

It’s what they think is important to them that is the key. It’s their criteria which determines in their minds if the project has been successful or not. How they will feel when the job is done.

Having said that, this is also a great time to educate your prospect further and set the buying criteria as I outlined in this article.

In our builder’s example, a client is unlikely to fully appreciate what goes into creating a home of exceptional quality, except for surface finishes. The careful attention to myriad details.

All the hidden attributes within the structure that makes the building stand the test of time.

So you need to tell them. What’s obvious to you is not obvious to your prospects.

And as our client experienced, this holds true even when dealing with another business (architects) who are in the building game as well.

So never, ever assume someone understands what you mean. Explain and be specific. Educate, educate, educate.

I’d highly recommend you record your conversation, or at the very least write down exactly what they say for future reference.

Why? Because they’ve told you the evidence criteria they’ll ultimately judge you on.

So make sure you deliver these outcomes above all else and you’ll have a happy client who’ll become a fan. Miss out on any and you’ll risk their wrath, regardless of how well you’ve delivered everything else.

Ignore this at your peril.

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