3 types of questions you definitely want to ask before you make an offer
Suppose you are going to buy a new car. You walk into a dealer showroom, where the seller asks you kindly what you are looking for. "A middle class car, to replace your current lease car", is your answer. The dealer then takes you to a number of models - middle class indeed. You get a huge amount of information from the salesperson. How many cylinder the engine is, how many inches the rims are, how many liters the trunk volume is. My question to you is; what is this seller doing wrong?
He or she follows up on the change to sell, you provide, way to aggressively. You enter the room, express that you are interested in “something” and then immediately they takes you to a product. I think you know what I mean and I think you agree that this is an irritating way of selling something. But don’t you make this mistake yourself when you try to sell your product. How often do you start telling lots of details of the product you THINK the buyer wants to buy? How are you treating the leads you receive from social media posts? Someone who clicks on the button for more information because of a post you made? What will you tell him or her at that moment? To much? Or worse….nothing? Just like what happened to the visitor of that car dealer showroom. So please don't just send people a quote without talking to them first.
How do you approach leads in a smart way? By doing what the car salesman should have done: ask many questions and start a dialog. This way you achieve three important things:
1. You gain persuasiveness and increase the chance that you will get the job done. You will learn more about what the customer really thinks is important. And that is the stepping stone for getting to business.
2. You gain sympathy. People are sensitive on an unconscious level to the interest that you display. By asking questions you show that you are letting their ego go before yours. And that is why others like you better, without really noticing it.
3. You save time. By asking, you will find out whether it is useful to make a quotation for this client. Maybe it turns out that someone is just exploring there options and that making a specified quotation would be a waste of time at this moment. Or you will learn that you can also do business with this client by making a phone call.
So, there are advantages to not just making a quotation. But how do you approach leads in a smart way? What kind of questions do you ask? I'll give you 3 tips.
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Key to a successful sale: make sure you find out what your "lead" wants. And that goes beyond the flat question; “what are you looking for”. Just take an example of the car salesman: a middle class car qualifies as a flat demand. This is WHAT someone wants. But to sell something, you need to know WHY someone wants something. What does someone find important about a car; Is it safety, price, sustainability or status? If you find out the buyers motive, you can then "connect” your product or service to these needs. You suddenly no longer sell a car, but you contribute to someone's safety (for example).
Assuming you follow up by phone; who do you have on the other side of the line? That is very important to know because it helps you to get the business done. Make sure you collect information on two levels of interest:
- The person and common ground that you have. People are unconsciously sensitive to similarities. We like someone better if they also enjoy running or come from the same city. Now, of course, you don't have to interrogate your potential client . But small talk does have a function. It gives you information about who you are facing and where there are common ground between you and the potential client. This way you create sympathy and it provides you input you can use in your quotation. If you decide to make one after the call.
- Is the person you are speaking to a decision maker? That is very relevant to know. Sometimes people are just interested, but they are not those in the organization who can make the decision. That does not have to be a problem and is certainly not a reason to write off the lead or tread the lead without respect. But it does mean that you have to ask carefully who else is reading the quotation you will make. Try to find out what this persons interests are as well. (These are buying motives!)
Finally, always ask for time table and the available budget. If they give you this information, it provides a wealth of knowledge to make your decision whether it is useful to make a quotation. Is their budget and schedule realistic? And if not, to what extent is there a willingness to adjust? Suppose someone wants to have delivered something in two weeks while you know that it will take at least two months. Then you first ask if they are willing to wait. Is this not the case? Then you can save yourself the trouble of making a quote.
The conversion rate of your quotations will skyrocket if you ask a few smart questions first. So make sure you have a number of questions ready for all three tips I gave you in this article. You may make less quotations after that, but that is a good thing. The chance of winning is much higher, and it also saves you lots of time.
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