Friday, March 13, 2009

One Statement and One Question You Should Never Use with a Prospective Customer

While there are many questions and statements you should never make to a prospective customer, there is specifically one statement and one question you should never use.

"Mr. Prospect, I will work to earn your business." - You might ask, don't you want to let your prospect know that you will work hard to get their business? Don't you want the prospect to know that you are a "can do" individual that can get the job done for them? My response is simple and and there are several reasons why you don't want to do this.

First, if you make a declaration that you will work to earn a prospect's business, guess what they are going to make you do? You guessed it, they will end up running you around in circles to get their business. Can you blame them? You were the one after all who told them you wanted to "work" to get their business. Before you know it, your prospect will forget that you even have other customers and prospects to call on!

Salespeople get paid by solving problems by the way of offering profit-justified solutions that are win-win for both sides. Instead of showing someone how hard you work (which by the way - you are already doing in most cases), why don't you show your prospect how you can impact their bottom line? In the end, the solution you provide to your prospective customer is the primary driver that will land you the business. Whatever direction you take, do not make the mistake of making the "anything it takes" statement the motivating force behind getting their business.

"Mr. Prospect, could you tell me what you like about your current vendor?" - This is another common and cliche question that most salespeople have been taught to ask. And there is "no question" that this question is a big mistake.

Why in the world do you want your prospect to be reminded about everything they like about who they are currently doing business with? By asking this question, you are re-enforcing why they are doing business with your competitor.

This question undoubtedly makes you look petty, also. It will look like a cheap information grab that serves only your purposes. It will be seen as a self-serving path in which you can push their buttons and manipulate them into buying from you based on what they already like.

All that being said, you should also not reverse the question by asking them "what they don't like about their vendor". This question is so direct and pushy that you will find your prospect will defend their vendor in most cases. In the end, this looks like another cheap parlor trick to manipulate them into doing business with you.

The questioning process is critical to making a sale happen. Don't waste your valuable time on questions that many salespeople are already asking and in most cases won't lead to sales. Differentiate yourself from other salespeople by asking questions that uncover specific problems for which you can provide a profit-justified solution. After everything is said and done, this is what will ultimately transform prospects into customers.

2 comments:

Zan Jones said...

I agree with you. Another cliche question a salesperson should never ask is, "What will it take to earn your business?" This question puts the customer in the problem solving seat instead of the salesperson.

From the Author: Will Fultz said...

Zan,

I agree, yet another bad question to ask. Thanks for your comment.

Will Fultz