Rethinking Sales Questioning: Make it Personal

Questioning, as it relates to prospecting, can get old. You may feel that the same old qualification questions are still being used and not getting you anywhere. Of course, you need to know how the decision will be made. Of course, it's valuable (but not necessary) to know what the budget will be. But anybody can ask those questions. You need to ask the questions that nobody else can ask. Below are a few though starters to help you rethink your sales questions:

1.    Make the conversation about the specific way you can help that specific prospect or customer.

2.    Focus specifically on what makes you different and why that matters to that prospect. 

If you can't do those two things, you're going to have a hard time because if you cannot differentiate, you cannot sell. You know what's really interesting? When you ask the engaging questions around your differentiation points, not only will you learn who the decision maker is, and what her budget is, but often that decision maker will make more room in the budget for you.

You have to take a different approach. If the old way was working so well, there wouldn't be so many underperforming sales reps. When you look at top performers, they know why they stand out, and they use that to their advantage.

I got a terrible sales email recently that illustrated this point exactly. It was so blatantly automated and tactical that I almost got angry. Perhaps what bothered me most about it was that having seen this person interact on LinkedIn, I know he's capable of better work.

If you want to make a personal connection, reach out and make one, but don't make a connection on social media and confuse that for consent to dump someone into your automation flow. Furthermore, don't try to make an automation look like a personal email. Your customer knows it's fake, and now they know you're fake too.

Merge tags are not personalization.  Selling is a people business. Take the personality out of it, and lose the connection. Lose the connection, and you lose loyalty. No loyalty? All that's left is the price. I'd hate to see you reduce yourself to that just because you're trying to take a shortcut.

You're better than that.

You're capable of more.

Stop cheating yourself and your customers.

If you're in a business where your objective is to churn and burn through customers at a rapid rate, then maybe an impersonal approach is the proper one for you. But in the business I'm in, people buy from people, and the connections they make with one another are the conduit for that business to be done.

<<end rant>>