Consultative Selling Requires Getting Commitment Early

Ask the tough questions early instead of later

Often times I see sales people either assume the sale will end up with an order. They lure themselves in to a false sense of security because they hear positive things “happy ears syndrome” LINK. where they are at with the sale.

In the early stages, sales people forget to determine how to get the order. Let give you an example. The sales person has the first meeting with a prospect. They hear positive things, like make us a sample or submit a quote. So they assume it will end with an order. But they never really know for sure. And if you ask them for evidence they cannot provide concrete action. They can provide “feel good” emotional responses.

So how do you make the transition?

It is really easy. If you really think there is a positive outcome, why not ask how it will move forward? Some would call this the test close. I put this into the category of understanding the process and workings of the prospect. Uncover, if it will go forward. Have them tell you the process.

Start here first.

Ask questions based on curiosity. Don’t assume it will end with them writing a simple purchase order. That is a formality. Use the “suppose” phrase or terminology. So, let’s suppose we provide you everything you need to make this project a reality, walk me through the process to supply the first order.

Uncover the hidden land mines early with questions

Most times, you are trying to displace the current supplier. What will that be like? Are they really committed to change?

Here is a list of questions (small sample) to dig deep into the reality:

Examine their internal processes

Walk me through your process to be a new supplier?

Who else needs to be involved to get an order?

Fix the pain

What do you like so far and how will this help you?

Do you see us as the company to provide you with what you need to solve your problem or meet your goals? OR ON a scale on 1 to 10 (ten being highest) how do you rate….?

How does this impact your job and/or department?

Uncover objection

What will prevent this project from going forward with us?

What can happen to stop this from going forward?

Is this project competing with others for budget or resources?

What can go wrong to prevent us from getting the order?

These questions are just the tip of the iceberg. As simple or apparent as they may seem, it is always surprising that the average sales person never ask these questions and more. Are you asking tough questions early in the process?