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Fact-Finding and a Climate for Selling

How do you define a selling climate? It is the set of circumstances that make it favorable for your client to buy from you. How do you create a selling climate? Keep in mind the following 5 concepts:

1. Sell only the results your prospect wants. If your prospect’s key issue is decreased sales and you keep going on and on about how you helped a previous client reduce employee turnover, is it possible you’ll lose them in the tall weeds? You bet!

2. Ask questions that generate emotion in your prospect. "Buying is an emotional process that must be rationalized. Selling is a rational process that must be emotionalized." Develop a list of emotion-evoking questions you can ask your prospects.

3. Watch and listen for positive reactions. Your prospects will tell you if they’re with you by a tilt of their head, their eye contact, and/or posture.

4. Be totally focused on listening to your prospect. They don’t care what’s in the binders. They only care about what those binders can DO for them.

5. Be sure you receive positive confirmation from your prospect before you move to the next step of the sales process. If you try to skip steps, that positive selling climate you’ve worked so hard to create can get stormy in a hurry!

Speaking of listening to your prospect, as the sales person all you need to do is be "dumb." That’s right, dumb…

because all you really need to do is ask questions. When you’re an expert on a subject you have a lot to share, and here is where the hard part comes in: when fact-finding, you have to resist the urge to be an expert. You have to forgo sharing what you know in favor of allowing your prospect the opportunity to do the talking. So, how does an expert get better at asking questions? Here are some do’s and don’ts for you:
 
Let’s start with the Don’ts

1. Don’t talk too much about yourself. You are not important… your prospect is!

2. Don’t give control of the conversation to your prospect just because they ask a question. Answer it, and get back to asking.

3. Don’t settle for "I don’t know" answers. Ask instead "Who does know," or "How can we find out?"  

4. Don’t try to close a deal when prospects are unemotional. Ask questions to hook their emotions.

5. Don’t talk too much. (Yes, that’s on the list twice because it IS that important!)

Now on to the Do’s

1. Do confirm any assumptions you have about the prospect or his/her company early on by asking questions.

2. Do keep control of the conversation by asking good questions. He/she who asks questions is in control.

3. Do keep your cool if your prospect asks you a challenging question. If you’re not prepared to answer it yet, say that followed by, "I need a little more information. Do you mind if I ask you… ?"

4. Do ask, "Is there anything else?" often!

5. Do act confused if you need more information. There’s no such thing as too many questions!

Focus on setting the right climate for selling, ask good questions, and then listen and learn. If you do this right, your prospect should lead you down the path to the sale.