Category Archives: Sales Dialogues

March 23rd, 2016

“What Keeps You Up at Night” and Other Pitfalls When Asking Open Ended Questions

asking open-ended questions

There is one question that comes up in virtually every Richardson sales training session that I have conducted over the past 23 years. It is part of an activity in which teams practice coming up with and asking open-ended questions to buyers. This is the question that participants love to ask buyers — “What keeps you up at night?”

This was new, innovative, and fun back in 1997. Now, it is a cliché. It is a salesy question. If a buyer is interviewing four different companies to find the right partner, he/she can hear that question four times. In my training sessions, I work really hard with participants on asking open-ended questions that avoid this trap. The goal is to come up with classic questions that never go out of style. “What are your biggest worries when it comes to switching advisors?” If I am a buyer and you ask me a worry question, I’ll talk about my worries. You don’t have to make it a cliché about what keeps me up at night.

Another pitfall that I encourage sales professionals to stay away from involves trading questions: “If we are able to do X and Z for you, will you agree to do Y?” Asking open-ended questions with “If”; is a manipulative construction. Buyers see that you are trying to get them to say yes to something before they are ready. They hear the start of a » Continue Reading.

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September 17th, 2015

The Danger of Asking Too Many, or Too Few, Sales Questions


Providing a balance between asking good sales questions and providing good insights

Back before the days of Internet searches, salespeople could start conversations with, “Tell me about your business and what keeps you up at night.” Now, the answer would be: “I’m not here to educate you. I don’t have time to be your onboarding department. You’re supposed to know this stuff.”

If you ask sales questions that are too basic, to which you would have known the answer if you’d done your homework, you risk annoying the customer. And, if you ask too many questions, even good ones, one after another, it becomes an interrogation.

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May 1st, 2015

Five Tips on Using a C-Level Executive in a Sales Meeting

C-Suite Executive is Sales

Richardson’s own Senior Facilitator and frequent blogger, Michael Dalis, is currently featured on the HubSpot Sales Blog. Michael’s post is entitled 5 Tips on How to Use a C-Level Executive in a Sales Meeting and can be viewed by clicking here.

In this blog post, Michael presents five practical tips for leveraging a C-level executives in an effective sales call, pitch, or client meeting. He shows how using this vital resource can give you and your sales team the extra boost needed to push you into the winner’s circle. We hope you enjoy!

Read the Complete Blog Post>>

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March 24th, 2015

Five Misperceptions about Consultative Selling


Five Misperceptions about Consultative Selling

In a world of dramatically changed B2B buying behavior, Consultative Selling remains one of the best ways — if not the best way — to focus on the client’s business issues and needs (not products for sale) to ensure that the proposed solution drives the needed business outcomes for the client to achieve his/her goals.

But, because it’s not the shiniest, newest sales approach on the market, there are some misperceptions about its relevance today. Following are five common misperceptions.

Consultative Selling is not assertive enough. Consultative Selling dialogue skills are used to create an environment of openness and mutual respect — ingredients that are necessary to stimulate thinking and gain a deep understanding of the client’s unique situation, diagnose root cause, and recommend the best solution. The seller may need to challenge the client’s thinking in the dialogue but certainly must do so without challenging the person. The only way to do this is to create an environment of openness and mutual respect, which is only created through the use of Consultative Selling skills. Consultative Selling leads sellers to go native. It’s unusual, but not impossible, for sellers to focus on their clients at the expense of their own company. However, the objective with Consultative Selling is to win profitable business. If an individual is not behaving as necessary, it becomes a coaching opportunity » Continue Reading.

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February 12th, 2014

Improve your Sales Effectiveness with Insight and Dialogue


Improve your Sales Effectiveness with Insight and Dialogue

Selling with insight is all the rage now.  I get why.  As Brian Fetherstonhsugh of OgilyOne has alluded, selling needs to evolve because buyer behavior has fundamentally changed.  While the impact of this is felt differently and more deeply in some industries and verticals than others (context and nuance always matter), the need for most selling organizations to evolve is clear.

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January 15th, 2014

Sales Transformation: Can you take Control of a Customer Conversation?

customer converstation

Video Blog from Richardson’s CEO David DiStefano, Sales Transformation: Can you take Control of a Customer Conversation?

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November 22nd, 2013

Learning and Development Leaders: Welcome to Your New Job in Sales – Part 1


Learning and Development Leaders: Welcome to Your New Job in Sales

Sales?  Learning and development professionals… in Sales?  Perhaps frightening to some, but there’s some truth to it.

While it’s tempting to defer to the hyperbole that “we’re all in sales,” meaning that we all represent our companies and are responsible for growing them, that’s not what I mean.  I’m also not just referring to those in sales training roles. I’m talking about the “Dan Pink” version of “we’re all in sales,” from his book “To Sell is Human,” meaning, that we’re constantly selling ideas and influencing, persuading, and convincing others (especially our colleagues and organizational leaders), to do what we think is best. (We diverge from Pink’s opinion somewhat, because unless you’re a sales professional with a quota, a pipeline, and likely a good portion of your income at risk based on your performance, it is NOT the same, but Pink is certainly correct that many of the dialogue, communication, and influence skills are the same.)

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July 1st, 2013

Sales Call Preparation: The Ultimate Checklist to Cover your Bases

preparing for a sales call

Preparing for a Sales Call: The Ultimate Checklist to Cover your Bases

We all know how difficult it is for your people to get time with buyers these days, so when they get these opportunities, it is essential that your people make the most of them. According to Forrester Research, only 19% of the more than 400 US-based IT and Executive Buyers surveyed believe that meetings with salespeople is valuable and lives up to their expectations.

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