Great businesses have great sales people. These companies employ a proven sales process that delivers customers after customers.
No matter the sales process, great sales people know how to gain as much information about prospects as possible. Some call this behavior fact finding while others call it discovering the pain. No matter what you call it, this basic selling skill of fact finding is critical to the success of any business. These 7 fact finding tips may help you to increase sales and improve your overall sales skills:
- Revisit the strategic plan – Reviewing the strategic plan will determine your target audience and may provide some existing data specific to industry trends, competition, etc.
- Perform the Preliminary Research – Take the time to investigate the company before any face to face meetings. The Internet along with personal contacts provide excellent ways to learn more about your prospect.
- Employ a Sales Process – Fact finding does not usually happen during the first meeting with a prospect. Do not violate the sales process. Remember to secure agreement before proceeding to the next step in the process.
- Construct a Questioning Plan – Fact finding is the outstanding use of planned questions. These questions build upon each other. Make sure you have a questioning plan of action.
- Engage through Open Ended Questions – The use of close ended questions where the response is No or Yes does not help as much as open ended questions. Sometimes close ended questions are necessary, but the majority of your questions should be open-ended allowing the prospect to talk, to talk and to talk.
- Keep an Open Mind – During the fact finding process, do not make the fatal mistake of already knowing what the client needs. Come to the meeting with an open mind and let the facts direct the solution.
- Remember Telling is Not Selling – Fact finding is also about listening. When you are telling about yourself, your company or your products and services, you are truly not selling. As the old adage goes: "If we were supposed to talk more than to listen, we would have 2 mouths instead of just one. "
Exceptional fact finding will improve your sales skills and ultimately your closing sales skills.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M. S. is a business coach and executive coach with offices in Indianapolis and near Chicago. She writes, speaks and coaches people in businesses to quickly double or triple results through the creation of executable strategic plans along with the necessary leadership skills “to pull it off. "
One quick question, if you could secure one new client or breakthrough that one roadbloack holding you back from success, what would that mean to you? Then, take a risk and give me, Leanne, a call at 219.759.5601 to experience incredible results.
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