John O' Gorman

Caution: Buyers Are Weary Of Questions

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There is a reason why buyers sit back and let salespeople do all the talking — it puts them in control. This is particularly the case because salespeople ask fewer questions when they are talking — questions that buyers may be slow to answer because of:

•      Political or other sensitivities.

•      Genuine information gaps.

•      Issues of confidentiality or trust.

•      Perceived relevance or appropriateness.

•      Issues of competitive fairness (‘if I tell you I will have to tell all the others competing’).

•      Fear of giving the salesperson ammunition or being sold to.

•      Not wanting to prejudice the seller’s response/solution.

Buyers are also particularly weary of questions designed to:

•      Box them in.

•      Prequalify them.

•      Uncover vulnerabilities.

•      Highlight problems or inadequacies.

•      Identify or accentuate points of pain.

•      Hastily pinpoint a solution.

•      Create tension that could cause change, or disruption.

Salespeople must earn the right to answer questions, particularly sensitive ones.  So, remember, the objective of the initial meeting is not to develop a thorough understanding of the buyer’s business or their needs. It is to start a conversation and to determine if the buyer and seller should be talking. So, put aside the detailed fact-finding or diagnostic tools, and focus on the conversation in the initial meeting.

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