A huge problem salespeople struggle with is asking questions — not only asking the customer questions, but making sure the questions are actually relevant to the customer.

The best way to correct this situation is by using what I call the STOP questioning approach.

Before you go into a sales call, develop at least 5 questions that fit STOP.  STOP stands for Strategic, Technical, Operational, Performance.

I’ve found this approach works in nearly every type of sales call, regardless of what is being sold.



Key is the questions are geared to help uncover the critical needs the customer has to allow you to determine the outcome they need to achieve.   What is good about the STOP approach is by keeping this in mind as you prepare for the call, you will be more in tune with developing great questions.

When I’m working with sales managers, I encourage them when they’re riding along with salespeople to review the STOP approach before each call and again after the call.

Key is in helping the salesperson understand first-hand the value of the technique.

Identifying several questions for each one (Strategic, Technical, Operational, and Performance) gives the salesperson flexibility to go where the customer wants to go.

Too many times, salespeople go into a sales call with questions focused only around one item.   Problem is it never allows the salesperson to fully understand what the customer might be looking for.

Worse yet, if the customer doesn’t see value in the questions being asked, it’s game over for the salesperson.

For your next sales call, think STOP — Strategic, Technical, Operational, Performance. Build questions around each one, and the probability of you being able to uncover the real needs of the customer will improve significantly.

Copyright 2015, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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High-Profit Selling

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