Asking the Right Questions
In the '40s and '50s, an advertising icon was born, his name was Ben Duffy. Ben began in the mailroom and worked his way up to the Presidency of BBDO, now one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. With his oversight, the company quadrupled its annual billing from 50 million to 200 million. Ben Duffy is best known for his sales approach.
Before a sales call, Ben would do his best to put himself in his customer's shoes. He would ask himself what questions his customer may have. Then Mr. Duffy would try to answer those questions. Questions like:
Who are you, and why are you here?
Do you have the experience or knowledge necessary to help me?
How can you help me?
Will you be able to meet my budget?
Is he really going to listen to me, and try to help me? Or is he going to sell me some off the shelf solution?
Is he going to disappear once he sells me something or will he be around to support our decision?
What makes his company any different from any other?
What is our next step?
There may also be some specific questions relating to the industry or product being discussed. The important point to remember is that Ben Duffy put himself in his customer's shoes and did his best to see things from their perspective. By doing this he not only acknowledged the validity of the questions, but he showed his prospective customers that he cared about their problem.
Answering a customer's questions will put them at ease and help them decide if You or Your Company can provide a solution to their problem. If not, you probably shouldn't be working together.
The key is to ask the right questions and to do that you must understand your customer's concerns. If you start by answering the questions above, most of your customers will be happy to answer any other questions you may have.