I spend a lot of time talking about the problems of discounting your price.

There is another problem — possibly an even bigger problem — causing you to lose money.

It’s pride.

If you want to be a salesperson who not only commands higher profits, but also has more satisfied customers, you have to become aware of what you do not know.

Of what you do not know?  What do I mean by this?

Unfortunately, too many salespeople do not ask enough follow-up questions — or do not ask the right follow-up questions — because they let their pride get in the way.  They feel it’s beneath them to ask the customer to explain something in more detail.

Interestingly, there are times when customers aren’t even clear about what they want.  The more discussion you can generate through your follow-up questions, the more likely it is you and the customer will arrive at a clearer picture.  Asking them to elaborate gets them thinking in greater depth about what they want and need.

One huge benefit of this is that when they get into deeper discussion, they may then realize additional needs they have or features they desire.  That all translates into more profit for you and your company, as well as a more satisfied customer.

Obviously, your listening skills play a crucial role in all of this.  Again, this is where pride can throw a roadblock into the process if you aren’t careful.

If you don’t check your ego at the door, you will have a tendency to not really listen to the customer because you will think you are the “expert” who already knows what they need.

My advice?

Listen. Listen. Listen.

And then listen some more.

And make sure you are comfortable asking a variety of questions.  I think you need to develop a list of at least 10 questions that you can ask a customer to get them sharing with you pertinent information.

Then you need to develop follow-up questions.

I like short follow-up questions, because short questions tend to get you long answers.   The best short questions are:

  • Why?
  • How come?
  • Could you explain more?

Don’t let your pride blind you again when it comes to follow-up questions, where you may have a tendency to ask long complicated questions to show off your knowledge.  Don’t do it.  You’ll just confuse your customer.

As for the follow-up questions, mix things up a bit with the types of questions you ask.  You don’t want to bombard a customer with a long series of “why?” questions in a row, or you’ll end up sounding like a perpetually curious toddler.

Here are a few examples of questions you can modify to work for you:

  • Could you explain to me more why you feel that way?
  • How did you decide that you wanted to change products?

You get the point.

You can’t just leave it to chance that you will come up with the right questions.  You have to be pro-active.  Push pride out of the picture and realize that there are many layers of information to uncover from your customer — and the more effective you become at this, the more profit you will make.

For more explanation on questioning skills, as well as a host of other skills to lead you to high profits, consider my book High-Profit Selling: Win the Sell Without Compromising on Price.

You have what it takes to be a top salesperson.  Just don’t let your pride sabotage you.

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

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