Category Archives: sales questions

October 13th, 2015

How can sales leaders help move their team members from vendor status to true strategic partner?

sales-leadership

At Richardson, we have a wealth of senior-level experts who facilitate training sessions around the world. All of them have line-management experience in complex sales environments, and they draw on their real-world understanding to engage sales managers and executives in improving performance and changing behaviors.

In our first Sales Expert Series, we ask them to share what they see when working with clients and offer tips based on what leads to the best results. Here is our first insight.

What suggestions would you offer to sales leaders to move their team members from vendor status to true strategic partner?

Nancy Sells

The first step is to ask these questions: What does a true strategic partner look and sound like? What does this really mean from the customer’s perspective? What do you do daily to achieve this status? As a sales leader, the way to move team members toward becoming strategic thinkers is not by telling them what to do but by asking them what they think.

With the answers to these questions, select just one aspect of being a true partner, then make it the focus of your weekly team meeting with the ground rule being that everyone has to contribute. The topics could be anything from how to get to know a customer’s business as well as they do to becoming more global in thought processes, or something as specific as adding more polish in verbal communication. After all, a primary » Continue Reading.

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September 15th, 2015

A Winning Sales Approach – How Sales Questions are like a Funnel

sales-questioning-strategy

Winning Sales Approach – Asking vs. Telling

Over the past year, I’ve been involved in a number of significant sales training initiatives at Richardson with companies that had first invested heavily in other types of sales performance improvement programs. Each had been trying to make fundamental changes in their sales approach to match the constantly evolving B2B buying environment.

As one of our clients, a recently relayed chemical distribution company’s salespeople had taken another flavor of sales training, and while they liked the training, there was no sustainment of the learning. They weren’t using their new skills or changing their behaviors. Implementation and execution had suffered, and so they approached Richardson for sales training in blocking-and-tackling skills that could help in delivering the expected results.

When I have asked other clients about their experiences and why they’re interested in Richardson’s Consultative Selling Skills, they say things like this: “My guys have been trying to provoke new thinking and ideas, but they don’t have the credibility. They’re 24-years-old and trying to tell executives how they should run their business instead of asking good questions and establishing a meaningful dialogue. They just end up sounding arrogant.”

Age isn’t the issue here; it’s strategy and preparation. At Richardson, we believe that the strategy of telling vs. asking, especially without the proper preparation, can chill many deals. We are, after all, human beings, and we typically prefer a dialogue over monologue.

A consultative selling strategy » Continue Reading.

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August 7th, 2015

Best Sales Questions that Work

sales-questions

Best Sales Questions that Work

You may love watching police dramas on TV, but a good salesperson never recreates the interrogation room in a prospect’s office.

The foundation of a good sales questioning strategy is creating a well-paced dialogue based on asking open-ended questions.

Here is a list of questions that I typically draw on in developing my pre-call strategy. They can be easily honed for specific situations and are intended to draw the other person into a meaningful conversation.

What is the opportunity?

What is the initiative we’re here to talk about today? Why is now the right time for this initiative? What is the driving force behind this initiative?

What are the expectations?

How will you recognize or define success? What changes do you want to see in your organization? What do you want your people to be doing differently How do you see this working within your organization? What are the roadblocks? Are there any champions or other stakeholders with an interest in this initiative?

What are the circumstances?

How have you been addressing this issue? What is your time frame for getting started? What does your decision-making process look like, and who will be involved? What are next steps and your time frames for implementation? When can we schedule time for a presentation to all of the decision makers?

Who else is in the running?

Who else are you considering » Continue Reading.

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June 9th, 2015

5 Tips on Asking Open-ended Sales Questions

open-ended-questions

Open-ended Sales Questions Allow Sales Professionals to Learn More than Just the Obvious

When you ask yes-or-no questions during sales calls, you get yes-or-no answers, which either confirm or deny whatever you had posited. When you become more strategic about asking questions, you can often discover important, underlying, and previously unknown issues that matter to the success of prospects and clients.

There’s a skill to asking the right questions at the right time. At Richardson, we include Questioning as one of our Six Critical Skills for sales, and we define it as the ability to explore needs and create dialogue. Open-ended questions allow sales professionals to learn more than just the obvious, observable things. As a result, sales professionals are better able to be more consultative and position the best products and services to meet client needs, while demonstrating understanding and caring in helping clients achieve their goals and objectives.

These five tips will help you get beyond the usual questioning strategy to discover what’s really on the minds of your clients:

It’s OK to leave your agenda behind. In fact, we encourage it. Going into meetings without preconceived ideas frees you to focus on what is important to clients. You can more easily step into their world, identify their needs and objectives, understand their worries and challenges, and align your offerings with their strategies. Don’t focus most of your sales dialogue on open-ended questions related to your » Continue Reading.

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