How Coaching your Clients can Ramp up Your Sales
The question is the Answer
It’s been my observation in training sales professionals, that if there is any weakness to uncover in missing sales opportunities or not closing them at the last minute, it is the quality of questions! The quality of your questions will give you all the answers you need to make the right pitch to your clients and close the sale. It is a fact that the best sales people ask the most powerful questions. They take their clients beyond situational analysis, to the place where they make their buying decisions and explore that with their clients.
Developing Coaching Skills
If there is one skill to really develop in meeting the current climate head on, it questioning and coaching your clients. If you were a sales professional, who wanted to become better at coaching, how would you go about it now? Here are some thoughts on that and a few sample questions to use over the next month and see the difference it makes to your sales conversations and your sales close rate.
Coaching is all about asking very powerful questions. It gets right to the core issue of what’s not working for the client OR what they want more of from your product and service. It digs deeper than order taking. It opens up a whole world of possibilities for you as a sales person and for your client as the buyer. It helps you and the client understand what’s really going on in the sales conversation. It tells you the story behind the story the client is articulating.
Firstly, instead of telling a client how great your product is (which I am sure it is), you are exploring and getting curious and finding answers for yourself and client about how they are going buy a solution, hopefully yours, if you work in the right way.
With coaching, you bring their mind to a place they may have never been before – a new reality – out into the future where they have the answer to their problem, which if you do it right, should be your product or service! You, as a great sales coach, will work with the client from a solutions mind-set, rather than a problem mind set. Solutions mind set, changes everything, from your behaviour to the client’s decision-making process.
Using questions activates much more of your power of persuasion and your client’s engagement in the process. Not only does it bring you more confidence, because you ask the question; you can then sit back, listen to what you have heard and then ask more questions to uncover the whole picture. You become the facilitator of a decision-making process, rather than pitching for business. And it makes your sales conversation far more enjoyable, not to mention putting you ahead in your sales game.
I hope you are as intrigued as I have become by what a coaching conversation can do for your clients. The key point is, the client gets to experience you as a great listener, who truly understands their issues. You are doing more than going through the sales pitch, hoping that your pitch might just grab their interest. You are engaging them at a deeper level than most sales people would have the skill to explore. Asking coaching questions also puts you in a position of knowledge and authority. The client may unconsciously begin to think, “if you are asking these questions, then you must understand my problem, I am interested in exploring this more”.
Here are a few examples of powerful coaching questions.
1. To look at what you OR your client are not paying attention.
- What am I not seeing?
- What questions has the client not asked?
- What’s my result from this conversation for my client/myself/my business/their business?
- What haven’t we thought of yet?
- What can I discover today that will confuse or enlighten me a little more about my selling techniques?
2. To get the client to think harder about the implications of their decision out in the future.
- What will happen if you decide to implement this immediately?
- What won’t happen?
- What will happen if you don’t?
- What won’t happen if you don’t … and what will that mean for your business?
3. To invite the client to imagine making the decision to buy and having their team on board, This is a great way to test for any objections the client may face with the organization.
- What’s important to you about getting all your team on board with this new solution?
- Who else need to be involved for you to make this decision?
4. To layer a question within a question and take the client into deeper level of consideration about the cost of making/not making a decision
- If you think about what implementing a solution means to your business, what’s the one thing that’s missing/would make a difference for you right now?
- What’s it costing your business in productivity, sales to delay this?
There are thousands of ways to frame questions, and as you frame them, you invite the client into a frame of mind that keeps them in their “world” where they need answers. It is in the power of your questions that you will find the answers to how YOU need to sell to your clients. The questions will give you the answers and help ramp up your sales. Then, the nature of your conversations becomes a value-added service in itself. You no longer do consultative selling, but begin a coaching conversation, which is far more enriching for you and your client. Happy Coaching!
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