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Common Questions and Answers
ABC = Always Be Closing.
This is a mantra often repeated by many of the best and most successful salespeople on the planet. Even when they are not working, you will find some salespeople always asking closing questions, whether out of habit or for practice. Every part of your sales pitch should be part of the closing process designed with the target in mind – a sale. This includes asking closing questions throughout your pitch.
Closing questions are those that lead the prospect toward the goal of agreeing to do business with you. They can be asked in a way that has the prospect convince themselves that the purchase is a good idea. A good closing question can also help to prevent leaks – which is the term used for excuses/reasons for the prospect to say no.
But what are the best closing questions to ask?
Not all closing questions will work for you. For example, somebody selling advertising solutions is likely to use closing questions that won’t work for somebody in the insurance industry. However, there are some questions, or variations of them, that should be used in just about every pitch. Here we take a look at five questions that every salesperson should be asking.
1. Are You the Decision-Maker?
Every salesperson has been there. The pitch has gone on superbly with a qualified and interesting prospect that has asked a lot of questions themselves. Then it comes to the question of money and you’re feeling confident because the prospect appears to be genuinely interested. The excitement soon comes to an abrupt halt when they hear the dreaded words: “I’ll need to run it by my boss.”
If you aren’t pitching the decision-maker then you are effectively wasting your time. Ideally, the prospect should already be qualified as being the decision-maker, but things don’t always go as planned. Make sure to answer the question as soon as possible so you can continue in confidence that you are speaking with the right person.
2. Are You With Me So Far?
As a salesperson, you will know your pitch and your product inside out. You should be able to recite your whole pitch without even thinking about it, and while this is obviously a good thing, it can also be problematic.
It can be so easy for a salesperson to go ahead with their great-sounding pitch to prospects that appear to be taking it all in and loving every minute of it. But are they? Some might be struggling to understand but don’t want to interrupt. Or maybe they can understand just fine but reservations are holding them back.
With this in mind, it is important to stop now and then and ask your prospects if they are still with you. Do they understand OK? Is there something they don’t like about the product? Give them time to answer and, when they do, listen.
3. How Could You Use This?
One of the most effective tools in sales is to help the prospect imagine using the product and benefiting from it. This is where you can use one of the most effective tools available to a salesperson – have them convince themselves it’s beneficial.
Say you’re pitching them a solution for screen sharing. Ask the prospect how they can use your product and they will likely tell you. In doing so they are giving themselves reasons to go ahead and buy the product. Likewise, don’t just tell them that something is beneficial. Instead, describe the product or feature and then ASK THEM what they think. When they say “it’s great,” it’s not only you that they are answering but also themselves.
4. What if You Don’t Buy?
This question can be very powerful for a couple of reasons.
One reason is that it helps to reveal which alternatives the prospect has. They may be already speaking with another company, for example. Armed with this information you will then be able to focus on closing the prospect of your product being the best option over the others.
Another reason is that the question can help highlight to the prospect that you have something that helps to fix a problem they have. It can also help to highlight the fact they even have a problem at all and that the problem will remain if they don’t buy from you.
5. Trial Close Questions
Trial closes are often quite direct questions about what the client thinks about the proposal. For example, “So, am I speaking with a new customer?” Of course, a “yes” would be great, but getting a yes there and then is not really the purpose of asking the question. Instead, it is more a case of trying to get the prospect to lower their guard and give you reasons why they won’t buy. This then gives you the opportunity to overcome these objections and, ultimately, go for the close.
While the above questions are very effective in helping you close, there is another tactic that every salesperson should use – NO QUESTIONS. Some salespeople have a habit of talking too much and, when somebody is talking, it means they can’t hear what other people are saying. Remember to take time out from time to time, be quiet, give the prospect time to speak and, most importantly, listen. If you listen to what they are saying, there’s a good chance the prospect is inadvertently telling you what you need to do to close the deal.
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