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What they ask makes the sale

BY JEFFREY GITOMER

Here is a sales action for you to take: Become question aware.

Here is another sales action for you to take: Listen with the intent to understand.

Every time you are asked a question. Ask yourself this question before you answer it: Is the prospect telling me that he or she is ready to buy?

That requires thinking way beyond your sales pitch. It's the nuance part of the presentation. It's where the sale is.

Here are some signs and signals that the customer MAY be ready to buy:

â ¢ Specific questions about ownership of your product or service.

"Would you provide supplies each month automatically?" "Would you come by each month and pick up my accounting?" "Suppose I like the temp, and want her to work for me full time?"

Those are the nitty-gritty questions of the buying process. The prospect is already owning it. You are being asked secondary (ownership) questions that say you are going too far. You should have asked for the sale a long time ago. These are questions that should come after you have completed the sale.

â ¢ Questions to confirm unstated decision or seeking support.

"Is this the best way for me to go?" Or, "What do you recommend?" Could they be leaning any further forward without falling over? Your customer is looking at you for your expertise and advice. They are depending on you for your wisdom. When they ask, "What would you do?" and you don't put ink on paper at that time, get out of there! You don't belong there.

â ¢ Wanting to see a sample or demo again.

"Could I see those fabric samples again?" "Tell me about the warranty again?" When prospects ask to see or hear anything again, that is when you write the order.

â ¢ Asking for a test or a sample.

"Can I try this for a few days?" "Can you send me a sample?" The prospect is saying, if this works I will buy!

â ¢ Making buying noises.

What's a buying noise, Jeffrey? The prospect saying, "Oh! I didn't know that!" or "Oh really? that's interesting!" or "You know, that's in line with what we have been doing," or "That is something that I have always wanted to try."

â ¢ Asking about other satisfied customers.

"Who else is using your product right now?" "Who are some of your current customers?" Here's a clue: They don't believe you, so they are asking questions about someone else like them so that they can have enough reassurance to buy. Customers don't always believe the salesperson, because at some point in their life, a salesperson has lied to them.

â ¢ Asking chicken questions.

The buyer is always looking to lower the risk of ownership, but they start out with something like this, "Suppose I buy it and it doesn't work, or it doesn't fit, or it's not the right size?" What they are saying is give me some more reassurance. What the customer is saying right now is don't sell me anymore, rather, reassure me.

Every one of these buying signals or questions can be turned into a closing question that will lead to a faster sale, if you are paying attention, if you are listening with the intent to understand. With every pointed question, the prospect is saying, "I want to buy." My question to you is, "How are you responding?"

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books on sales. His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at www.GitomerLearningAcademy.com. For information about training and seminars visit www.Gitomer.com or www.GitomerCertifiedAdvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at salesman@gitomer.com.

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