February 23, 2009

The Top 15 Customer Questions & How To Handle Them

You have delivered an excellent sales presentation. The prospect is impressed and has lots of questions to ask. But are you ready? The wrong answer and the sales opportunity may evaporate.

To help you prepare for the key questions you are likely to be asked here is a list of the Top 15 questions that buyers ask in respect of high value B2B solutions. It also includes ‘killer’ questions that have the potential to stop the unprepared salesperson in their tracks.

Rehearsing the answers won’t just help you to impress the customer; it will also increase your level of comfort, credibility and effectiveness during the sales process.

When the Customer is Exploring Alternatives

1. Why should we choose your company?

2. What are the advantages over other methods / approaches/ products / services?

3. Why is it better than your competitors?

4. Why should we do it now, as opposed to next year? Do it in house?

When the Customer is looking for Confidence

5. Has the product/service been bought by others in our industry?

6. Do you have an office in our market/territory/region?

7. How strong is / what financial backing has your company?

8. Has the product/service been tested, verified or certified by any independent organisation?

9. Can this be tested / piloted? Is there the possibility of a pilot/proof of concept?

The Cost-Benefit Equation

10. Our business is different… how can this work in our business?

11. I question your figures… can that really be achieved?

12. Can the benefits be substantiated?

13. What is the return on investment?

14. What is the cost? Of course the cost will be more than that, when we take into consideration other costs (total cost of ownership)?

15. Why is it so expensive? What is the total cost of ownership (including installation, maintenance, training, etc.)? What is the payback on the investment?

Of course, then there are likely to be a range of questions relating to details of your proposition, such as; How does it work… Is it compatible with…. How long does it take…. What skills are required…What about ongoing maintenance? Upgrades… Support… etc.

The Importance of Preparation

The more questions a potential customer has for you, the better - it shows he or she is interested. However, in the heat of the sales presentation even the expert can stumble if presented with a complex, or difficult question.

Relying on ad lib answers to questions is not enough. The true sales professional creates a list of all the questions, or objections, likely to be received and carefully prepares the responses.
So start with the list above. Add any other objections or questions that you, or your colleagues, have been asked and keep adding to the list over time. Then write out your response, rehearse them and put them in a folder that can be used by any new sales person.
For more tips on objection handling see ‘Handling Customer Questions & Objections’.

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