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29 Consultative Questions to Help Increase Your Sales

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Oct 29, 2020

What is the best way to stand out in today’s virtual, fast paced world with limitless information at our fingertips, social media and highly informed prospects? Make sure that you are a skilled consultant and are prepared and skillful at asking the right questions at the right time. The best way to cultivate a trusting relationship is to focus on your prospect and be genuinely curious about their business challenges. That is what will differentiate salespeople from everything else that can be found online. According to the #1 sales evaluation we utilize, the most important skill of successful consultative salespeople is asking enough of the right questions. So, we gathered 29 consultative sales questions for you to use to skillfully help your potential prospect through their decision-making process.

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 29 Consultative Sales Questions:

  1. I know you are a very busy person, what caused you to invite me out?
  2. What has to happen today so that you at the end of the meeting, you say, this was a great meeting?  
  3. What is the most important thing for us to cover today?
  4. Tell me about that. (assume you have uncovered some problem or issue)
  5. How long has that been going on?
  6. What have you done to fix it?
  7. When you spoke to your current provider, what did they say? Or
  8. What has your current vendor done to make this problem go away?
  9. What happens if you don’t fix this?
  10. Is that a problem?
  11. Is this a want to fix or need to fix it problem?
  12. How much is this problem costing you?
  13. How much money have you set aside to make these problems go away?
  14. (If low price) What other products and services do you buy that are not low price?
  15. Who else besides you is impacted if you decide to do business with us?
  16. What do you like or not like about your current provider service?
  17. Are you happy with their results?
  18. Suppose we can’t match your current price but can help you achieve your total growth (sales) goal and fix the problems?
  19. Suppose that we come to an agreement on financial terms, what other resources will be needed to complete the arrangement?
  20. When you’ve made a decision like this in the past, what was your process?
  21. Will that be the process that you go through this time?
  22. When you say you’ll “look at it”, what does “look at it” mean?
  23. When you say you’ll “think it over” (TIO), “think it over” means?
  24. Who else has to fall in love with the idea of our doing business together?
  25. How important is it to you that we put a program together to help you eliminate the problems that you’ve described to me? 
  26. What will it sound like when you tell your current provider that you are moving? (You should get them to actually say the words so that they are rehearsing the conversation)
  27. Do you feel I understand your business challenges (or what you are trying to accomplish)?
  28. Do you think I can help you based on what I have shared?
  29. Do you want my help?

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Topics: traits of successful people, the why sales questions, selling in today's market, consultative selling

Lessons from a Few Great Leaders

Posted by Linda Cole on Thu, Oct 01, 2020

Many Great Leaders precede us and the mentorship these leaders provide can help us move our businesses forward if we study and implement some of their learnings and accomplishments. A myriad of basic business tenets demonstrated in the leadership of many influential historical figures have the potential to help us plan our next expansion, create or grow with exploding demand or navigate unprecedented times of change.

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Charles Schwab comes to mind. His book, Invested; Changing Forever the Way Americans Invest, provides us the biography of his revolutionary consumer-direct investment concept. Schwab led the way for the birth of an industry with his passion, beliefs and tenacity in the face of a traditional and hostile Wall Street. The take-aways from his book are numerous and inspirational. Most notably, Charles Schwab had an unwavering vision. His commitment, tenacity and fortitude are demonstrated throughout the book.

Abraham Lincoln created a team composed of able political rivals-- People who were unafraid to voice their opinion or disagree with him. These people were confident in their own leadership abilities. Early examples of diversity and inclusion, Lincoln’s actions help us understand how much better we can be if we find and recruit people from differing perspectives who challenge our thinking. This is particularly relevant for attracting and representing differing constituents--when we are looking to expand our appeal to various market segments or different types of employees. 

Beth Mooney of Key Corp, became the first female CEO and Chairman of a top 20 US bank in 2011. Mooney led the way for women to become management and executives in banking. In an interview with Barron’s published April 3, 2020, she tells the story that in 1979 she was a secretary for a bank in Texas. She applied and interviewed for a management training program, then refused to leave the interview until she was accepted. Which she was, with the caveat that she earn her MBA.

Clearly, Beth Mooney was ambitious. She demonstrated commitment and a stubborn focus throughout her career. She knew firsthand the challenges that women and minorities faced in the white-male dominated banking space and through her determination and actions, Mooney made it possible for many women, minorities and LGBTQ to succeed.

Jesus had a servant heart. “The least of you shall be the greatest.” Focus on the needs of those people for whom you are responsible. Balance conviction with passion – Do not bend from your objectives when correcting behavior or outcomes. At the same time, do not “break the backs” of your people. The bricks and mortar of your business may crumble but armed with great followership you can remain strong and prosper. Leadership skills will only take you as far as your character allows. No amount of skill will overcome a lack of transparency, integrity or honesty.

Margaret Thatcher, the autocratic leader, was known as the “Iron Lady”. Her conviction and values along with her determination enabled her to set goals and see them through, even in the face of personal threat. An example of this was her reducing the influence of mining unions in the UK in 1984-95 , regardless of the push back from public and private opinion. A controversial leader, Thatcher believed that too much government involvement stymied economic growth and she worked untiringly transitioning the economy into the hands of the British people and businesses. Believe in your guiding principles with your heart and soul. If you fail, fail as a result of execution rather than belief. 

Who are your leadership heroes and what takeaways do you take from each? Maybe a parent or teacher provided great leadership qualities. What qualities do you hold yourself to? What qualities do you hold others to?

Identify areas where you are strong and defend your position. What would others say about your list? What are necessary areas of improvement for you? Where are your gaps? What impact do these gaps produce? Are they problematic? Must they be addressed and if so, how will you fix them?

Finally build your own plan for improvement. Then share the plan with others and express your expectations of them. The best way to do that is to tell a story. What is your story?

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Topics: sales management success, sales leadership development, Leadership Skills, traits of successful people

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    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

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