Latest Blogs

Looking for Answers or Looking for Information?

infoGood salespeople, and leaders, know that when meeting with customers, it is all about listening. When we dominate the conversation, we learn little from our customers.

And, with that very valuable time that we have to spend with our customers, it is all about learning their needs.

But there are questions and there are questions. Often we look to understand our customers’ needs through the lens of our products and service. After all, that is what we are looking to sell them and so we ask questions that point to our catalogue.

That is not the way your customers think and it is certainly not the conversation they want to have.

What I found in my many joint sales calls is that when salespeople try to understand the customer’s needs in context of the product they are selling, they tend to ask pointed questions, in search for a pointed answer:

Do you ship to Thailand?

Do you use widgets in your assembly line?

Do you like free checking?

While we may get answers that fit into our product line, and while we even may sell our customer those widgets, we leave much bigger opportunities on the table – because we haven’t asked our customer what they need in the context of their business!

It is the simple difference between looking for answers and looking for information. Seek information from your customer. You will often be surprised at the broader value you can provide:

What are your main shipping routes?

What components are most critical to your manufacturing?

What banking services are most critical to you?

What is keeping you up at night (that one can open doors!)

Your customer will open up and speak to you in the context of their business imperatives. That is a goldmine! If they need widgets, you will still sell them those widgets, but it may be in the context of a much larger need that you can fill.

Ellipsis AdvisorLooking for Answers or Looking for Information?