Here are the customer communication areas I'd dig in on if I were a salesperson or manager who wanted to get the most bang for the buck: What issues do our customers wrestle with that cause them to investigate or buy our products? SalesLinksMentor Associates sales training and consulting services recommend this sitefaqdedicationsite map
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Observations and tips for business to business salespeople

March 1999 v2

Customer Sales Communication—Essential Questions and Answers

jack carrollby Jack Carroll

Sometimes I think there's too much information out there for salespeople and everybody else. When you look at the great sales resource sites on the web like SalesLinks, Business by Phone, Smart Biz, Let's Talk Selling, Selling Power, Dartnell, and SFFA Magazine, to name a few of the most prominent, the volume and easy access to information on "selling" is staggering.

In my view, it's more a matter of focusing on the most important information and digging in deep on it. I call it communication leverage.

Here are the customer communication areas I'd dig in on if I were a salesperson or manager who wanted to get the most bang for the buck:

  • What is our product? What does it do? Why is that valuable? How is it used? (Can we communicate this clearly and concisely?)
  • Who, like this prospect or customer, is using it? In what way? (Tell the story of the way it was before. What they did. And the way it is now.)
  • What is it about us or our product that differentiates us from our competition? Why are we better than they are? (Don't say better service. That's what everybody says who hasn't figured out anything substantive or real.)
  • What issues do our customers wrestle with that cause them to investigate or buy our products? What are their three key issues? (Everything else comes out of this one.)
  • If this is a major corporate purchase, who are the "buying influences" that are involved in the decision making process about our products? What are their hot buttons? Do we know where each one of them stands during the evaluation or purchasing process?
  • Are we using effective communications media like e-mail selling and the web to communicate with prospects and customers?
  • Are we conducting a real customer survey at least once a year to find out how happy they are and where they are having problems in doing business with us?

Your life at the top of the mountain depends on your being able to express yourself brilliantly (not just adequately) on each of these subjects. Throw away all of the books on sales skills and techniques until you have this stuff down cold. Take and pass the following test on how well you are communicating.

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Sales Tip and Practice

Ask your mate or dear friend to work with you on your communications in each of the above areas. Rehearse your questioning and presenting language in each area with them. Take the subjects one at a time and don't move from one to the next until they give you the best score that you are capable of achieving. If it's not a B+ or better, consider another profession where great communication isn't a requirement. Why persist in a profession (sales) where you
will only be average or mediocre?

If you read this exercise and don't do it, ask yourself why.

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