the past 20 years of my interaction with clients,
I've been asking questions;
To maintain healthy conversations.
- Discuss with a non-selling approach.
- Making the other person to talk to learn more.
- Finding the right decision maker.
- Help improve sales process.
am sharing with you, the questions to you can
ask at different sales stages. They have been
found to be effective in most of the sales situations.
questions are deliberately overlapping, and stop
just short of duplicative. Essentially, you want
to elicit the same information in as many diverse
ways as possible. While
asking questions one should not appear to be interrogating
the people. The questions are primarily "triggers"
which may elicit feedback that demands further
be content with a single question, no matter how
satisfying the answer appears to be. Some people
will attempt to deceive to save their ego, and
others will inadvertently deceive you because
they misunderstood the question.
Qualifying the potential buyer.
Does this requirement need budget allocation
& has it been arranged for?
important is this requirement (on a scale of
would ideally like to place the order?
else is involved in the buying process
you made a commitment to proceed, or are you
are key decision criteria in choosing a supplier?
you bought this before, is this a continuous
you planning to get more proposals before deciding?
Identifying the decision maker.
Who controls the finance & other resources
required to make this happen?
has initiated this need?
can immediately approve this requirement?
is responsible for the results?
else is involved in the approval process?
will accept or reject proposals?
you and I were to shake hands, could I begin
to address the decision makers objections.
do you feel that way? (To get the root cause.)
we resolve this, can we then proceed? (Is this
the sole objection?)
isn't that exactly why you need me? (The reversal
would satisfy you? (Make the buyer answer the
can we do to overcome that? (Demonstrate joint
this only of its kind? (Is there precedent for
the consequence? (Is it really serious or merely
that only remotely possible? (Worry about likelihoods,
not the remote.)
I address that in the proposal? (Let's focus
does it even matter in light of the results?
(The ROI is the point.)
Identify the objectives.
is the ideal outcome you'd expect?
results are you trying to establish?
a opportunity, what better product/service/customer
condition are you seeking?
are you seeking to do this (work/project/assignment)?
would the operation be different as a result
of this work?
would be the return on investment (sales, assets,
would image/repute/credibility be improved?
much would you gain on the competition as a
Establish the measurable.
will you know whether we've accomplished your
will you measure this?
indicators will you use to assess our progress?
or what will report on our results (against
you already have measures in place you intend
will we know the public, employees, and/or customers
time we talk, what parameters will tell us we're
would you know it if you made a mistake?
Assess the value.
will these results mean for your organization?
would you assess the actual return (ROI, ROA,
ROS, ROE, etc.)?
will these results impact the bottom line?
is the intangible impact (e.g., on repute, safety,
would you, personally, be better off or better
is the scope of the impact (on customers, employees,
important is this compared to your overall responsibilities?
if this fails?
Identify the Budget?
you arrived at a budget or investment range
for this project?
is your expectation of investment required?
we don't waste time, are there any financial
parameters that I should work within?
you done this before, and at what investment
are you able to authorize during this fiscal
I assume that a strong proposition will justify
much are you prepared to invest to gain these
a dramatic return, will you consider a larger
be frank: What are you willing to spend?
Close the order.
the proposal reflects our last discussions,
how soon can we begin?
it better to start immediately, or wait for
the first of the month?
there anything at all preventing our working
together at this point?
rapidly are you prepared to begin once you see
you get the proposal tomorrow, can I call on
Monday at 10 for the advance & the purchase
I'm here, should I begin some of the preliminary
The most important question.
the above questions the following one can be answered
in only with a clear "yes or no" response.
Do you believe it yourself?