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Today’s consumer is smarter than ever. In fact, you should go into any meeting with the assumption that your smart consumer has already done research on you.  

Working with a smart consumer requires sales professionals to be very prepared. To be prepared for that informed consumer, you need to be upfront and ask them what they already know.

Lots of sales professionals shy away from acknowledging the consumer has done their research. These reps don’t want to know that the prospect has already talked to their biggest competitor.

It’s a problem if you don’t want to ask these questions. When you are transparent and ask the prospect to tell you what they already know, you’ll gather tons of valuable intel that will help you close more deals.

You have to make a mental shift and start asking those questions.

The most important question

“What type of research have you done thus far?” Don’t be afraid to ask this question. Being in sales requires you to be able to ask (and answer) difficult questions. Get this question out of the way early in the meeting. When they have done research, here’s the intel you gather from this simple question.

They show you their cards

When you ask this question, your prospect tells you exactly where their head is at. You’ll learn: 

  1. What is important to them
  2. What their biggest pain point is
  3. What they perceive to be the solution
  4. Where they are in the buying cycle

Imagine having all of that information within minutes of meeting a prospect!

The follow up questions 

You’ll want to ask follow-up questions as well. Start with “What have you liked so far in your research?” That will tell you what features they are looking for, and you can tailor your presentation to highlight that feature.

Keep asking follow-up questions. Ask “What prompted you to start looking into solutions?” That will tell you the exact problem that is at the top of their mind. When you can tailor your presentation to that, you’re going to close a lot more deals.

The customer who hasn’t done research

As I said, most customers have done their research before meeting with you, but that may not always be the case. When you’re faced with someone who hasn’t done any research, you can still gain some intel by asking questions.

Ask them this: “What are you hoping to accomplish today?”

You ask this big, open-ended question for the same reason you ask the educated consumer about their research. Their answer allows them to show you their cards. 

Shift your sales mentality

This is only the beginning of course. Sales reps have to make a mental shift away from being  product/service focused. A product/service mentality leads to feature dumping and is all “me” focused.

Instead you want to have a servant sales mentality. Show them how you can serve them today. Give them exactly what they need today.

The fastest path to close sales is to solve one problem immediately and be of service to your prospect today. Then do it again and again and again. When you do that consistently, your prospect becomes a customer for life.

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