Improving Sales Success

improving sales success

Studies of "successful" compared to "average" sales people have shown that successful sales people behave differently in the client meeting and as a result they are more skilled at uncovering the customer’s needs during the initial sales discussion.

Effective selling requires the sales person to identify the customers needs and match these needs to the solutions their product or service provides. When talking with a salesperson the customer can express two different types of need:

  • The customer may express a direct request or a wish. This type of need is known as ‘explicit need’.
  • Or the customer does not announce a need, but instead they talk about their problems or express dissatisfaction about something. This type of need is known as ‘implicit need’.

"Average" sales people pick up on an ‘implicit need’ straight away and then offer their product or service directly. Successful sales people, in contrast, keep their offer back at first. They have developed the skills necessary to develop the customer’s ‘implicit’ into an ‘explicit need’ before they try to meet it.

Detailed analysis of the sales process shows that in the first phase, the information gathering phase, average sales people ask a lot of questions about the customer’s general situation. The reason for this is that these types of questions do not require a lot of skill by the sales person in order to formulate them.

Successful sales people, on the other hand, ask concrete questions about the customer's problems. They systematically and skillfully explore the areas of the customer’s problem for which their product or service might be of use. They expose difficulties the customer has and makes the customer aware of their own dissatisfaction with the status quo. They therefore turn the customer's ‘implicit’ need into an ‘explicit’ need.

Only when the customer has themselves seen a solution to their problems does the skilled sales person introduce their product or service as a possible solution. The customer has, in fact, sold themselves on the solution the sales person offers. The result of this skilled questioning approach: An Order.

The skills of effective questioning can be learnt and honed on our sales courses.