Hmm…Why do you ask?

Salespeople love to talk.  Its a common theme at QuotaCrush.  I’ve recently done two posts on it: Never Vomit on your Customers, and Two Ears, One Mouth.   Expanding on this topic…salespeople need to make sure that whenever they answer questions in a sales pitch, that they need to understand why the question was asked.

The natural tendency when someone asks you a question is to give an immediate answer to that question.  However, unless you understand the motivation behind the question, the chance is that you will answer the question with information that is not relavant or with information that will not move the deal closer to the sale.  And, you will have lost a perfect opportunity to learn more about the customer.

I am NOT proposing that you provide untruths or NOT answer their question.  You need to properly answer the question, but you need to make sure that you understand the motivation behind any question before you attempt to answer it.  This is critical in understanding how you can make the sale.  Every question that is asked of you is an opportunity for you to get the information that you need to actually make the close.

For example, if you are asked, “Does your SaaS system allow me to backup my data manually to my own servers?”  The inclination will be to instantly provide an answer with the Yes or No and then a description of how it works or how you overcome this.  For this example, it doesn’t matter whether the answer is yes or no.  The customer has given you a perfect opportunity to learn more.  What your next question should be is, “Why is that important to you?”  The reasons could be several.  And each has its own lesson on how you can get the sale:

  • CIO wont allow any system in without it.     You’ve learn that you need to sell the CIO to get the close
  • SaaS systems with remote back-up have to go thru IT budget instead of mine because I have to have IT sign-off.  You’ve learned how products get paid for, and how to design your proposal so that the sale can go thru easier.
  • They had a major data-loss last-year.  The shareholders are very sensitive and they need extra re-assurances before they will sign onto an SaaS service.
  • Company has major requirements for reporting and wants to do if off back-ups of data.    You learn of an opportunity to up-sell them reporting services or data transfer services,  In this case, a question about back-up was actually a question about data export – which you learned by not immediately answering the question and diving in.

Outside these examples, there may be hundreds of reasons why they are asking about remote backup.  Take the opportunity to understand WHY they ask the question to help build an answer to the question that will solve their problem. 

Never answer any question until you understand why it is asked.

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