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"Questions are messages, and they can be incredibly persuasive, too."

Want to Be More Influential? Steal Your Customer’s Glasses.

“A prudent question is one half of wisdom.” – Francis Bacon

How much easier would selling be if you could really see things through your customer’s eyes? Here’s how the pros do exactly that. It’s a process called value profiling and, like many effective techniques, it is not complicated (most salespeople just don’t know it or don’t do it).

SKILL TARGET: Find out what your customer wants, and emphasize those features and benefits which meet their criteria.

It sounds simple, but the steps in the process are critical:

PRIORITY ONE: Develop in advance the questions you intend to ask.

PRIORITY TWO: Include the following:

  • A Consent Statement: Launch right in to “20 Questions” and you risk putting your prospect on the defensive. Plus, you sound like every other “consultative salesperson” out there. Instead, preface your probe with a permission or consent statement: “In order to develop a proposal that best meets the your needs, I’d like to ask a few questions. It’s time well spent, because then I can zero right in on things that are most important to you. Is that okay?”
  • A General Question: “What criteria do you consider most important when purchasing something like this?”
  • The Value Profile: “Which is more important, price or total value?” “Is service a critical issue?” “Do you prefer standard widgets, or custom order?” “How relevant is delivery time?”

TRY THIS: List at least five specific “value” questions you can ask on your next sales call.

Armed with this information, you can develop a highly effective presentation that says to your prospect, “Here’s what you said you wanted.” Then give your customer back their glasses.