questionsHere’s a question for you.  It's a money question.

It's a money question because when you ask it you'll sell more and obviously make more money.

It's also a money question for your customers because many times they don't realise the full and quantifiable Euro costs associated with the problems they have.  As a salesperson, your job is to identify the pain they suffer.

My favourite sales question is

"What are the biggest challenges you face . . .

 . . . in growing your business?"

The first seven words are the most important.

You can tailor the last part of the question to focus on your particular business.

Step 1 is asking the question.

Step 2 is to quantify, in Euros, the cost of the customer's problem.

The bigger the problem the bigger the Euros associated with that problem. Finding the problem isn't enough, you must help the customer to understand the costs of that problem.  They must appreciate that they have a problem and that its costing them money – big money.

Ideally, you'll be able to offer a low-cost solution for a high-cost problem.

I'll demonstrate this for you. Let's assume I'm talking to a sales manager who is interested in hiring an after dinner speaker for a sales meeting.

I ask the sales manager "What are the biggest challenges your salespeople face in growing your business?"

He describes the problem his sales team is having with opening new accounts.

I ask him what the new accounts goal is for a typical salesperson.

I ask him what the shortfall is at the present time.

He says they need one more new account per week per sales rep.

I follow up and ask what is the average sales volume for a new account?

He says, "About €1000 - 1500 a year".

I suggest to the manager that we do the maths on his problem.  Every new account represents €1000-1500 annually. Each sales rep needs 45 additional new accounts a year, which equates to €45,000-67,500 per sales rep.

I then ask him how many salespeople he has in his sales organisation. He responds, "We have 5."

I then ask what percent of your sales organisation has this problem? He says, "About 75 percent".

I ask him if we could use his calculator. I told to multiply 3.75 (75% of 5) times €45,000 (I took the lower figure).

I then ask him what the number is? He says, "I don't believe this; it's €168,750. I never realised how big the problem was. I don't need an after dinner speaker for this. I need a comprehensive sales training program."

In light of the significant euro magnitude of the manager’s problem how sensitive do you think he was to my fee? His concern wasn't about my fee, but how fast can we do the sales training.

The example I just provided actually happened.

The real benefit of asking my favourite question is that together - you and your customer can identify the problem and now be able to quantify euros the costs linked to that problem.

What are the biggest challenges you face in growing "YOUR" business?
If you made my favourite question your favourite question some of those challenges would disappear.

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