Discovering Your Client’s Needs: The Right Questions to Ask

Discovering Your Client’s Needs: The Right Questions to Ask

Who likes a pushy salesperson?

Funny, I didn’t see any hands go up. 

The short answer is NO ONE!

Have you ever felt like a pushy salesperson in your business? 

Maybe you have a product or service that you offer, but you haven’t been getting good traction because you just “are not a salesperson” (Nor do you want to be frankly).

It’s okay, not everyone is a super salesperson. 

But…. Everyone has the capability to be.

 

People seem like pushy salespeople when they are fully focused on offering a product but don’t ask the questions needed to know if their service or product is right for their client.

You may have the most amazing product in the world that can benefit everyone, but if you don’t go into discovery with your client, you will never convince them that they need it. 

So what does it take to qualify your client for your service or product?

And how do you come across, not as a salesperson, but as a consultant?

That is what we will dive into in this post. 

 

Solution Selling

To get a better understanding on where to start, you must first know what solution selling is and how it can be effective with your client. 

Solution selling is exactly how it sounds, selling a solution to a problem the client has. 

When you are able to solve a problem for a client, they will be 10X more likely to buy. People are willing to pay for something that solves their problem. 

This not only helps your customer but when you can find a solution to your customer’s problem, you are seen as a consultant or a trusted advisor rather than a salesperson.

This level of trust is what you need to create with your client. We will learn how to do that by going into a discovery flow initially with your client. You will be able to gain a level of trust and cater your solution (aka your service or product) directly to the client and their needs. 

 

Discovery Flow

When you are in a discovery flow, you are asking the client questions that will help you get a better idea of their problem and how your product or service can help them.

Here are a couple of example discovery questions you can ask you client:

  • Who do you have for your current service?
  • Have you tried any other services?
  • What is most important to you?

These are just general questions to find out about their current service and their needs. Next you want to ask about the quality of the service they have now to discovery where their problems are.

  • How is your current service?
  • What is the problem you are trying to solve?
  • What is the biggest complaint about the service you have now?
  • What are you looking for in a ____ service?
  • What is something you wish you can do that you can’t do now?

These are very direct questions that will give you an idea of the troubles your client is experiencing and if there is an opportunity for you to help.

Ask client qualifying questions

Acknowledgement

Listen thoroughly to your client and their concerns. Once you do this you can then tailor a very specific pitch to them based on their main concerns. 

Use transition sentences that tie back to their concerns or issues. 

  • Based on what you told me…
  • I completely understand your concerns… 
  • Many people have concerns about ____
  • What if I told you we can resolve (issue A) by….

These statements help people feel listened to. It is important to acknowledge that you understand your clients main concerns. Just the simple acknowledgement that you heard them correctly can go a long way.

 

Now is the fun part…

Creating a Solution 

When you consider yourself a consultant and not a salesperson, you are more focused on offering something that will solve a client’s issue or recommend for them something that will be better than what they have now. 

Upon recieving the answers to your client’s issues, you should be able to formulate a quick inventory of what they need, what they don’t need, and what will benefit them to have. 

Make a list, whether it be in your head while you’re speaking with them, or on paper of every way your service or product can help your client and next to it put what problem you are solving for your client.

If you can’t think of a problem you are solving for them, don’t list it.

You want to make sure when you pitch your client you are only offering them something that will benefit them in some way. 

If your service provides a feature your client doesn’t need, you can decide if you want to offer it. If it doesn’t solve their problem directly but will still benefit them, throw it in as an “added bonus.” This will just continue to add value to your offer.

Ultimately you want your client walking away happy feeling like they got more than they expected. 

Follow up

Take time to follow up with your clients, ask how the new service going. Ask them if your service met their needs or exceeded their needs.

Of course if you service exceeded their needs, now would be a great time to ask for a review. Having several reviews under your belt of happy customers will expand your business faster as others will want to go through the same experience. 

Follow up is an important part of the process so don’t skip it.

I hope there was some valuable information in this post that can help you in correctly asking the qualifying questions needed for you to pitch a product to your customer.

I personally believe this is the most important step because it sets the tone for the whole transaction. 

Remember to be a consultant and ask your client questions, do not just be a pushy salesperson and talk about your product from the start. You must create a relationship with your customer and figure out what problem they have so you can effectively solve it.

 

Are you a designer or a consultant looking to ask your clients the right questions on your initial consultation?

I have put together some of the most commonly asked questions needed to discover your clients needs in a convenient pdf for you. You can get it FREE here. 

 

 

 

 

Maintaining a Positive Mindset with Sales

Maintaining a Positive Mindset with Sales

Sales is 80% attitude and 20% aptitude.

Salespeople hear it all. The concerns, the frustrations, the complaints all come to them bringing negativity to their world, but a superhero salesperson wouldn’t worry about all that.

To the super salespeople who are effected emotionally by the day in and day out negativity that comes your way, know that their is a light at the end of the tunnel.

It is possible to maintain a positive mindset about sales. Even if you have been around for a while and have been worn down by the tediousness of the sales process over the years.

Have you been feeling doubts because of the number of issues that we deal with daily?

If you don’t have a positive mindset about sales, if it is bringing you down with the negativity the job entails, this is the key you have been looking for.

Things to get in a positive mindset: Law of averages, Knowing what your selling, knowing how to sell, be genuinely interested, build lasting bonds (qualiity of time, not quantity), help others

What things will get you into a positive mindset when it comes to sales?

Law of Averages

For those of you who don’t know about the concept of law of averages it’s really quite simple. Long explanation cut short, law of averages is how many times it takes to get to a goal.

See my explanation of law of averages

Think about this, you get 3 customers in a row with issues. What are the odds that the 4th customer will be a great sale?

Is it still 50/50 or is there more of a chance of a sale? Unless you just have straight up bad luck then there are good odds the next one is your sale.

Hold on to that fact and think about it daily. This will keep you pushing and striving for the next, moving forward in a better mindset with that of hope.

Knowing what you are selling

It is important for you as a salesperson to use your product and make an educated opinion about the product or service. Know what makes it shine, know how it separates your product from the competitors in that space, and know what its downfalls are.

It’s important to know the product you are selling or at least know how it differs from its competitors. Once you know more about it, you will feel more comfortable offering it to customers.

Knowing how to sell

Learning to sell is hands down a craft. Something that is perfected and worked on and fine-tuned for the length of the salesperson’s career.

It doesn’t go away either, kind of like riding a bike. Once you know how to negotiate and all the other selling tactics used, you will use them without realizing it.

Check out: How to win friends and influence people

Be genuinely interested

It’s one thing to go to work every day. It’s another thing to have a passion and purpose for what you do.

Listen to what your customers tell you. Be interested in their concerns and put their minds at ease. Being genuinely interested will open opportunities to network and create meaningful relationships. Plus it will help the day not be so tedious.

Build lasting relationships and help others

When you help others you will be successful.

Helping others in itself will make you more positive. When you know you have a purpose and can help others with issues or make their lives easier. When they leave you with a smile and praise, it feels good. It will put you in a positive mindset just to know you are making a difference in the life of that person.

Enjoy what you do

The number one way to be positive in your current position is to sincerely enjoy what you do. The more beauty you can find in your job the better.

When I did door to door sales, it was really easy to get negative being out there in the hot Florida sun and getting doors slammed in your face. But I found its best qualities.

The time freedom I had was amazing, I could take a break whenever I wanted. I met so many interesting people that I had great conversations with. I worked on my fears of speaking to people. Every now and then I got a cold water or a nice meal. I got a paycheck every week. It was everything I could ask for in a job.

Looking at your situation in a positive light is a choice. If you look a little harder, you will find things are never as bad as you think.

5 Ways to Improve Your Follow-Up with Customers

5 Ways to Improve Your Follow-Up with Customers

Much of my customer base is from follow-ups and referral business. A lot of it stems from knowing how to correctly follow up with customers. Many sales people are trained in methods that are opposite of following up with customers. Salespeople have a reputation of being pushy and trying to get the customer to make a decision the same day. Why is this? Many salespeople work on commission, so they are trying anything they can to make sure they don’t hear the dreaded “I’ll think about it and get back to you.” 90% of customers who don’t make a decision the day they come in or inquire about a product or service wont come back. Many of them will sign up with a competitor, never research and make a decision, or make a completely different decision after speaking to someone else. For this reason, it is even more important to make sure you follow up with customers and make sure they are quality follow-ups.  

What does the research say?

A study from Dartnell Corp. investigated the number of times a prospect was called before a salesperson gave up. Here is their data:
  • 48 percent quit after the first contact
  • 72 percent stop after the second contact
  • 84 percent give up on a prospect after the third contact
  • 90 percent wave the white flag after the fourth contact
Only 10% of salespeople make that fifth call. This is interesting as statistics show that 80% of sales are made after the fifth follow up. Customers like to be comfortable with a sales rep and the company before they make a decision. If you take the time to show them you mean business and you want their business, you will be rewarded nicely. How can you ensure that you have an effective system of following up with customers?

Use technology tools to help you follow up efficiently

Have you ever remembered to follow up with a customer who was interested only to find out that you forgot to get valuable information about them? Such as their name or contact number? Or what they were even interested in in the first place? It doesn’t seem that professional when you call a customer and say “So I know you were interested in our product, what was your name again?” Get their name and best phone number so you can contact them about further details and agreements.
Using some simple lead follow up tools can help you make sure that you have quality follow ups with all the details about your customer documented. I would recommend using a program like Trello or my favorite, Evernote to take notes about a customer. With these programs you can make a detailed note on your customer’s name, contact info, products interested in, and when to follow up. I like both of these programs because they can span across multiple devices. You can take notes on a tablet, phone, or PC and have the notes accessible on any device. Other than these, if you can find a great lead tracking tool such as this one, it will make keeping up with your leads easier.

Get personal with your customer

Knowing about your customer can help you significantly in your follow up. Before they leave, find out something about them that will make it easier to spark a conversation when you do call them to follow up. Some examples could be:
  • Any vacation plans coming up?
  • Are you doing anything exciting this summer?
  • When is your birthday or anniversary?
  • Are you usually available on the weekends?
  • Can I touch base with you in a few weeks? When are your best days?
  • Do you think you will have made a decision by (date)?
  • Do you answer your phone or emails faster?
It’s good to get a general idea of your customers life, obligations, and when the best time to speak to them is so you don’t call at a bad time. This can also reveal information about your customer that you can bring up on your follow up such as “How was your trip to Italy? What was your favorite part of your trip?” Showing genuine concern and showing that you remembered will go far with your customer.

Check in

Just a simple check in to see if your customer has any lingering questions can be effective in showing your concern. If you sold them a product that is only for a certain time of year, give them a call the next year. Anticipate that they will be needing you in the future an pick a good time to follow up just to check in with them. Send them educational materials that you think will be helpful to them. The more value you can build the better, and the more likely they will be coming back to you for future business. Try using an email marketing platform such as Mailerlite to set up your customers for a monthly newsletter. Mailerlite is straightforward and easy to use. It is simple to create a newsletter that will benefit your audience. Sign up for Mailerlite now.

Think about the second sale

Have a great promotion that you know your customer will love? Don’t be afraid to reach out to your customer to offer a current promotion or a sale. Ask them to forward it to anyone they think would be interested. Ask them what they are looking for and notate it so you can reach out in the future.

Testimonials and Referrals

Asking for referral business is a great way to build your business hands off. Referral business is just free advertising. You don’t have to spend any time or money on it. All you do is accept their call and move forward with the sale. Use your existing customers to help create more customers. Have your existing customers do a Google review or post a comment about you on the companies blog or social media page. Remember people love to deal with someone who has good reviews and social proof. They are 10x more likely to ask for you than just go with anyone. They see you have produced results or made another customers experience great and they will want to do business with you.

Conclusion

As a super salesperson, you should not be afraid to follow up with your customers. Use your customers to get good reviews and to promote you for free. The best type of marketing for your brand is free and doesn’t cost you anything. Be fearless when it comes to following up. As long as you don’t spam your customers, many of them don’t mind a simple follow up to the sale. Use tools to track your leads and follow ups so you don’t forget to reach out when you can be the most effective. Keep track of special occasions and appointments. Make yourself stand out above your competition.
 
   
Superhero Sales: Stop Blaming Others

Superhero Sales: Stop Blaming Others

You will not fail if you make a mistake, you will fail when you blame others for your mistakes

We are all human and as humans we don’t like to be wrong. We don’t like to make mistakes and especially we don’t like things to be our fault.

I’ve seen many times where people have blamed others for their lack of success or their mistakes. I’ve been blamed before for mistakes of others. I’ve blamed others for my mistakes. When you begin to blame others for things, you don’t take responsibility for you actions or your situation and you don’t learn or grow.

The hard truth is, wherever you are now, it is your fault.

Realize your in control

You have control over you life and of situations that happen to you. The sooner you begin to take responsibility for your actions and your situation, the sooner you can work to resolve it.

If you never recognize it is your problem, then you will have to rely on someone else to solve it for you. Once you realize that the problem is yours, you can then take the steps needed to solve it.

Losing your power

When you blame others, not only are you unable to see that you have a problem to solve, but you lose your power.

If you take responsibility for yourself and your actions you will be able to learn from your mistakes, find a better way to do it, and try next time to do better. Winners have tried and failed many times. But they pick themselves up, accept responsibility for their failures, and try again.

If you never take the first step in accepting responsibility for your situation then you will never work to fix it. You will have to rely on other to fix it or make it right. You are at the mercy of others for your happiness and joy. No one should have control over how you feel and function.

Take control of your own life

Taking control of your life and situation may be hard or scary, but it must be done. You must realize that you create situations, they don’t just happen to you.

Next time you are faced with a situation you want to blame others for, think about these questions.

  • Is it really the other persons fault or am I at fault?
  • Am I blaming my performance on an uncontrollable?
  • Is this problem something that is a controllable?
  • Did you do everything in your power to avoid this mistake?
  • If you took responsibility for this mistake, what would you learn from it?
  • What would you do differently next time?

Asking yourself these questions can help you take control of you situation and shift the blame from others to yourself.

Some common examples of blaming others

Salespeople most commonly blame others if they don’t make their sales goals. I know I’ve made some excuses and blamed others for the situations.

They got more customers than me.

What can I do to get more customers?

Everyone came in for issues.

Am I optimizing every opportunity?

They didn’t want the service.

Did I discover why that don’t want it?

They gave me an objection.

Did I take the time to attempt to overcome the objection?

Many of these are similar to the excuses that we blame others for daily, monthly, quarterly in our everyday lives. Some of these typical excuses give your control to something or someone else, here are some questions you can ask yourself to shift the control.

There was traffic.

Did I leave early enough?

You forgot to do…

Did I also forget to do this thing?

I’m too tired.

Am I tired or is it a will issue?

This is not what I asked for.

Did I go over the details or read the fine print?

The sooner you can begin to start taking responsibility for yourself and your actions and stop blaming others, you will find that you will have much more power and avoid bad situations easier.

So admit that it’s your fault. Say “my bad” and work to do better next time.

Superhero Sales: The 3 R’s of Redirection

Superhero Sales: The 3 R’s of Redirection

Mastering the art of redirection is a valuable skill that can help create meaningful relationships, value in yourself, and keep the customer engaged with what you have to say.

Not only that but it allows you to create a meaningful relationship with a customer in the most efficient way possible.

The neat thing about redirection is that it takes care of all the reasons why a customer would need more time to think about it. Learn about those ways and other strategies in my newsletter below.

Redirection is a way of creating a lasting relationship, building trust and respect, and also selling a product. When done correctly it can be very effective.

The system for redirection is as follows:

  1. Read
  2. Redirect
  3. Relate

Read

– The first thing you should do is read your customer.Are you talking too much about the product and they are getting bored? Are you talking too much about yourself and they are confused like “why are you here”? Read the customers body language and facial expression to know if they are engaged in the conversation.

Also, read what personality type they have. Are they inquisitive about the technicals of the service? Are they price conscious and looking to lower bills? Are they energetic? Matching their energy and personality type can make you seem more relatable. You can cater your pitch to fit their personality and their needs.

Redirect

– Here is the heart of the strategy. Every so often in the conversation, redirect to something unrelated. If you are talking about the product, start talking about what a cute dog they have or a beautiful garden they have. If you are talking about their home, shoot back over to the product. Ask them another question about their current service or what they are looking for. Present them a solution. Redirect back to something different, ask them a personal question.

This does a few things:

  • It creates a relationship with them.
  • It also keeps them constantly engaged with the product and the sales decision.
  • It draws a parallel between the relationship your creating and the product where it feels like the product fits neatly into their lifestyle.
  • It gives them just the right amount of information at intervals so it doesn’t seem like too much or too little.
  • It directs their attention away from the fact that you are trying to sell them.

Relate

– When you redirect back to the personal conversation makes sure it is things that you have in common with the customer. If the customer has a dog, ask about it’s name or how old they are. Talk about your dog and how you got it. The more precise and intimate the details, the more the customer will feel like they know you. *Bonus: Show pictures of your dog – Visuals are very effective

Just a precaution, don’t talk too much about yourself without inquiring about the customer and don’t ask too much about the customer without sharing information about yourself. Find a happy medium.

I have a friend that is a master at redirection. Watching him in action is like watching an orchestrated symphony. He knows just the amount of redirection needed to make the customer feel listened to, accepted, supported, and also get them sold. Talking with him for 10 minutes you will feel like you’ve known him for 10 years…and you will buy what he’s selling.

Using this system of redirection will not only help you create a meaningful relationship, but it will also allow you to do it quickly.

After all, time is money.

Practice redirection with your next customer. Keep them engaged by switching topics frequently. Then come back around to the first thing you talked about and see them light up like you share something in common. Have fun with your customer. You will find that you can get sales much more efficiently when you use redirection to create rapport.

Superhero Sales: Be a Solution Provider

Superhero Sales: Be a Solution Provider

Don’t sell the product, sell the solution to the problem you solve.

In sales, if you are selling the product you are losing. People mainly buy things or services because they have a problem that needs to be solved and you have the product that is the solution.

As a salesperson, it is your job to find out what that problem is and how you can pitch your product as the solution. When you start solving problems for others that is when you will be sought out as a trusted advisor.

By the end of this article you will have an idea of how to come across as a solution provider. You will be able to help customers identify problems with their current service and be able to pitch your product or service as a solution.

The first step in being a solution provider is finding out what your customers situation is. Getting to know them is key in figuring out how you can help them.

You must ask qualifying questions

Asking a customer specific questions does two things:

First, it shows the customer that you are interested in what they have to say. It helps create the relationship with the customer that you will need in order to give them suggestions.

Second, it qualifies them for your service. It helps you find out if the service is right for the customer and what aspects stand out that you can use in the conversation.

Some examples of qualifying questions are:

  • What company do you currently use?
  • What services do you have with them?
  • What is your favorite and least favorite thing about that service?
  • What are you paying for that service?
  • Is there anything you wish that service offered that it doesn’t?

While these are just a few examples of qualifying questions, you basically need to understand what your customer has, how they feel about it, how your service or product compares, and how you can improve their experience.

Listen to the customer

If you can understand what kind of person your customer is and what fires them up, you have already fought half the battle.

Great salespeople take the time to talk with their customers. They get to know who they are and what their interests are.

For example, you sell TV service with DVR boxes. Your customer is an elderly couple who is not fond of technology or change but likes to save money. How would you pitch your customer?

The interaction should go something like this, “Mr. Customer, I can understand how you don’t want a complicated system. There is complete ease in using the system, and you will keep all the local channels you enjoy so that doesn’t change. We can save you $50 a month on the bill. How does that sound?”

If you didn’t ask the questions to find out that your customer doesn’t like new technology and change, then you could have gave them a speech on how cool the new DVR system is and all it’s amazing features. Your customer would have turned you down immediately.

When you get to know your customer first, and not only that but listen to what they tell you about their lives and pain points, you can cater your solution to their problem. You can cater your pitch to their interests. And close the sale.

But how do you present a solution to a customer?

  • Think about how your product solves a particular issue or frustration, (maybe the issue of price, inconvenience, boredom, necessity)
  • Think about how your product will help your customer or improve their quality of life by giving them value
  • Think about how your product can help them help their customers

Make sure you are providing value to your customer in some way. Pitch them a solution to their problem or an idea that will get them to say “yes, I need this in my life!”

Phrase it like:

“Based on what you told me, I would recommend…”

“Here’s what I can do for you…”

“To solve the issue of A, I can provide B”

“With my product, not only will it help you A but also (provide this value)”

Be a solution provider

Being a solution provider is not about providing a solution to a problem because they may not realize they have a problem. Being a solution provider is about figuring out what that problem is and then offering a valuable solution.

Fear of Change

But what if the customer doesn’t have a problem with their current service?

The initial reaction for anyone when faced with a change is, no, I am happy with what I have. It’s a natural instinct to fear change.

When I sold a service door-to-door, that was the first thing I heard from customers. “No, I am good with my current service.”

That didn’t scare me away. In fact, I took that as a challenge.

Think about it, I had just approached them. They know nothing about the service I am offering. I haven’t done a comparison of their service against mine yet, so they do not know for a fact that they are good with their service, it is just fear of change.

Ask Questions

So I proceed, “What is your current service? What do you have with them?”

I give them a question that is not just a yes or no question. The customer will then have to think what their current service is and what they have. They may still object “I like my current service.”

“Great, what do you like about them?”

Again, a question that is not yes or no. They will have to think about what that company does for them. What do they like about their current company?

Most of the time after these questions are asked, the customer feels a sense of curiosity on whether or not what you have is better.

Pain Points

Recognize the customer’s pain points.

The pain points can be anything that the customer can’t do now with their current service that they wish they could do. Sometimes customers will openly state what they dislike about their current service so you have the opportunity to solve their problem with your service.

Many customers don’t initially state their pain points, or they say they are happy with what they have. In this case, it is your job to find their pain points. Ask key questions about how their service operates and what it offers while mentally taking notes of everything that you can improve.

Once you are able to point out these issues, the customer then begins to see more value in a service that will relieve their concerns or make their life better or things more convenient.

As we have established, pain points make customers take action. A customer is more likely to make a decision if you can show them a problem they have with their current service and then solve that problem with your service.

Be the go-to person for your customer

As I said earlier, when you solve the customers problem you are then seen as a trusted advisor. Take on the customers issue as if it were your own and not only will your customer respect you but they will also trust your suggestions.

Place the relationship with the customer over your sales quota.

In the back of your mind you know you have a sales quota to meet, but the customer doesn’t need to see that. The customer doesn’t want someone who is going to push them into something they don’t want to do or don’t see the value in doing.

As a salesperson, it is your job to make sure you are understood. The customer must see the value in your product or else you risk them changing their mind, canceling, or returning the service.

When you give someone value, the sale is more likely to stick.

Reassure your customer that you are the go-to person for the product or service you are selling. You may not know all the answers, but the best thing you can give a customer of yours is the reassurance that you are there for them and even if you don’t know the answer, you will put in the work to find the answer for them.

Give them your card and invite them to reach out to you with any questions or concerns. In my opinion, this is the most valuable step. The last thing you want is for you to go through all the work of acquiring them as a customer and then a spur of the moment concern leads them to cancel.

By giving your customer reassurance that you are there for them it lowers the percentage of customers that will cancel and make your sales more sticky leading to recommendations and repeat business.