The world of sales is a touchy area. Say one wrong thing and it can literally break the sale. Getting a sale often relies a lot upon making sure you say the right thing and ask the right questions. It also relies upon not asking the wrong questions! This can be an even bigger mistake than not asking the right ones.
The biggest mistake that you can do in trying to make a sale is to ask the customer, “What do you think the solution is?” Sure, it sounds innocent enough and seems on the outset like you really want their feedback, thoughts, and to discuss solutions, especially if they mention one you just so happen to be providing. But when you dig deeper and really think about it, you will see that this can be the question that closes the door to the sale you were so close to making.
Why is it such a back-breaking question to ask? Here are several reasons why asking that question can kill your chances of making the sale:
1. By asking such a question, you are indirectly suggesting that you do not know what the solution is. This may make the customer question your abilities, and they may feel you are not qualified. After all, they are likely under the assumption that you are meeting with them to offer a solution to one of their problems.
2. You may be opening the customer to suggest a solution that you don’t offer and they hadn’t thought of before. If you ask the question and their answer isn’t on your sales sheet, you just lost the sale! You may even be helping to hand a sale directly to your competitor who offers what the person feels is the solution.
3. Your prospect brought you in so you could deliver a solution to them. They want you to do the work. Problem is, if you ask that question, you have immediately turned it around and have them doing the work. They could have done that without meeting with you.
4. With that type of question, you may end up closing their mind to options. We all believe our own idea is right. In fact, in a recent informal survey I did of married couples, I asked each spouse independently when they get into an argument with their significant other, how often were they actually the one that was right. Both the husbands and wives said they were right about 80 percent of the time. That is impossible! That adds up to 160 percent, so while not logical, it is the way we feel. It is the same way with the customer. If you ask them what they think, they will go with that solution. Therefore, you need to show them how your solution is right.
There is a lot of psychology that goes into making a sale. The questions you ask your prospect will go a long way toward leading them in one direction or another. The direction you want to lead them in is the one where your product or service is found. And doing that, means asking the right questions.
Ultimately, customers are drawn by how you sell, not what you sell. So ask the questions that reveal their challenges and the problem they face. Don’t ask them for the solution. Instead, guide them to the solution. In the end, customers reward vendors who deliver value and educate the customer. Become a seeker of problems and provide of solutions. Otherwise, you will be seen as a seeker of solutions and a provider of problems. And trust me, you don’t want that!