Ever head into a meeting with a customer thinking you will “remember” everything you want to ask?

You’d be wiser (and likely more profitable) if you write out your questions before you actually meet with the customer.

The big reason why I encourage people to do this is not what you think. You’re probably thinking it’s so you don’t forget what questions to ask. Yes, this is important, but it’s not the most important reason.

The most important reason why I tell salespeople to write down in advance the questions they want to ask is so they can think through and first determine if each question is worth asking. You will also be able to determine what is the most logical follow-up question to each question.

Too many times the questions salespeople ask are ones they think up either on the fly or ones that are so obvious they border on stupid. Take the time to think through what it is you want to ask.

As you develop each question, ask yourself if it’s going to help the customer see and explain their needs.

Your goal is to engage the customer in a dialogue where they will tell you what their needs and pains are. When they tell you this information, you then have credibility to explore further through the use of follow-up questions.

The follow-up questions are the ones that will really get the customer thinking.

Just make sure you don’t overload the customer too quickly with questions that are too deep in nature.

Work your way through the food chain of questions you want to ask. By taking the customer through a logical progression of questions, it will help them feel comfortable and in control. By doing this, you also will allow the customer to understand better what it is they want and need.

If you move too quickly and ask the customer a very deep question too soon, you run the risk of having them shut down on you. You may feel the question you asked is the right one, but you must be discerning about how the customer will perceive the question.

Writing down your questions in advance equips you to think through how you will ask them, and in so doing, allows you to ultimately ask them at a pace that fits the customer.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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