In a previous post, we talked about who the subject of your sales questions should be. But most salespeople believe the questioning process is for them. When they ask questions, they become the center of the questioning process, not the prospect.
How many times have you entered into a diagnostic session where the central thoughts in your mind were something like:
- I have to ask some sales questions. Let’s get this thing over with.
- I have to ask questions to impress the prospect
- What do I have to ask to close this deal or move the sale forward
Most of the time, when we start asking sales questions, our attention is almost always focused on us and not on the prospect. In most cases, it’s probably the last conversation you had with your sales manager who told you ‘how much we really need this deal.’
Here’s a tip. If you write down the goals of your questioning session, you are more likely to achieve them. For example, if your goal is to discover information about their operating environment to install technical equipment, put that at the top of your notepad and make that the focus of your attention.
In all of my experiences with salespeople, those who write down the target outcomes of their sessions and take notes during the sessions outperform those salespeople who wing it.
Sales Training Exercise – Focus your Sales Questions by Removing Internal Distractions
So here’s your exercise. In addition to your notepad, get yourself a small spiral bound notebook to serve as a worry notebook.
When you’re preparing for your diagnostic session, write in your notepad the general items you want to focus on – your prospect, their company, their environment. These items will be the focus of your sales questions during your diagnostic session.
Now, before you step into the meeting with your prospect, ideally before you get out of the car, write down in your worry notebook the items that are grabbing your attention. Things like:
- The conversation with your sales manager telling you they need this deal.
- You session with your physician who said your blood pressure was too high.
- Your car payment
- Shots for the family pet
Anything of a personal nature that you think needs addressing goes into the worry notebook. Then, put that worry notebook in the glove box of your car and give yourself permission to forget about those issues for the next hour. Don’t worry. They will be there when you get back. But for the next hour during your diagnostic session with your prospect, they are in your worry notebook, leaving you free to focus on your prospect.
Remember, selling is an away game. It takes place in the mind of the prospect. That’s exactly where you need to be, in their mind, seeing the world as they see it. And you can’t do that if you are paying attention to your problems.