As we check back in with our buyer Bill, and with you as the seller, we found out last week in part 1 about the ‘buyer seller dance’ that we all play. It was also determined that not only do buyers want to lead, but also, that we as sellers, are happy to be led.
We also determined that the above title is not a question and that silence is the only response. Further, we agreed that once we get into the ‘what can I do to make it happen’ spin, we are being led to that slippery slope to the bottom.
One of the most powerful tools, but sadly underused in sales, is questioning. Not any questions, but effective, poignant and thought-provoking questions. This technique takes practice and time to perfect. Once you become proficient, it becomes your ‘go to’ tool. The main reason why is because buyers are not accustomed to having those kinds of questions being asked. They are expecting you to fall quite nicely into the ‘what can I do to make it happen’ mode. The fact is that the effective, poignant and provoking questions are not part of the, ‘Getting Them to Drop the Price 101’ curriculum. Therefore, let’s take a look at a couple of these questions that can take you from being led to leading.
You must always ask permission to ask these questions by simply asking: “Bill, can I ask you a question?” As mentioned last week, you know he is going to say yes. Why is this an essential step? If he gets upset by the question, you can refer back to the fact that not only did you ask, but he granted you permission to ask the question. After the yes, lead with something similar to the following: “Bill, your firm is a leader in this industry; correct?” Who is going to deny accolades? “That’s great Bill. Let me ask you then, are you the least expensive?” You know the answer to this one is going to be, “No.” To which naturally leads to: “Then, why do I have to be?”
Now, he has to justify the fact that he is not the least expensive but requires that you have to be. You may get push back and again, you have to remind him that he gave you permission to ask. This does take some mental fortitude from you, as well as ‘guts’ to ask. What Bill should be thinking at this point is that he is dealing with someone absolutely different from any other seller that he has seen.
Some of you may say: “If I upset him, then I may lose the order.” I’m sorry, has there been anything said in this blog, or, last weeks that you have an actual order? You haven’t even gotten to the point of asking for the order. Therefore, how can you lose something you haven’t got? Questioning techniques are something that requires thought, practice and most of all, great listening skills.
Some may argue that what we are doing is manipulating the customer and somehow tricking them into giving us an order. I would argue back ‘no’. What we are doing is standing up for the value of our product and/or service and refusing to ‘dance.’
Next week, we will be introduced to someone who I have worked with and who charges more than anyone else in a highly competitive industry, yet continually has a waiting list of clients; while others who charge less are desperate for them. How is this possible you may ask? Simply, by asking the right question.