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Ask the Customer a Question Without an Apparent Answer to Gauge Their Involvement

Too many times we find ourselves engaged in a conversation with a prospect that we think is going to lead to a profitable outcome, only to have the person be focused 110% on price.

One of the best strategies you can use to measure a customer’s orientation to price is to engage them in a strategic discussion.  If the customer is strategically focused, you have a much better opportunity to maximize price.

With this being the case, the sooner you can determine the level of their strategic thinking, the better off you’ll be.  Asking a customer a question to which neither of you has an answer is one of the best approaches I’ve found to determine where a customer is coming from.

A customer who is not strategically focused and is going to base their decision on price or some other non-differentiator is going to blow off a question of this type.   They will view the question as being a distraction to their buying process.

On the other hand, a customer who is strategic in their thinking is going to feel engaged being asked a question like this.  Although they won’t know the answer to it, they will still many times provide you with a response that opens up the conversation.

Customers who are strategic look to be challenged in their thinking, and they value having discussions with people who they see as real thinkers.

Another key reason why it is so important to determine early in a sales process if the customer is strategic or tactical is it will help you to better understand the the person’s timeframe.  Tactical buyers view each transaction as a single event and, therefore, are very short-term oriented in their thinking.

Strategic buyers view things long-term and place value in connecting transactions together.  For you this is huge, as it can help you in crafting the proposal in terms of timeframe and the long-term potential a customer might be worth.

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Ask the Customer a Question Without an Apparent Answer to Gauge Their Involvement”

  1. Hi Mark;

    Thanks for the great sales tips!

    Could you please provide a scenario or two for “strategic” vs “tactical” thinking?

    Thanks!

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