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Rabu, 20 Mei 2009

Buyer-Driven Selling: Conducting the Client Interview

by Michelle C. Ritter 
You’ve completed the first two steps of the Buyer-Driven Selling process; building self belief and trust. You have self belief, you have belief in your product and you’ve developed a trust-based relationship with your client. It is now time to find out what your client needs.

Do your homework BEFORE you go to class 

Be prepared to discuss their business, not yours. 
1. Read a current trade magazine that is prominent in their industry. Through reading, you can find out what is important to them as business owners. What trends are currently taking place in their industry? 
What solutions are they in need of? 
2. Have a conversation with a receptionist, sales manager or service representative in their company. Ask what industry challenges they are facing right now. Find out what the topics of the sales meetings are. How can you help? 
3. Visit their website. 
4. Visit their competitor’s websites. 

Listen, Listen, Listen 

It doesn’t matter how many times salespeople hear these words, they want to talk. We all want to tell the client why they absolutely must buy our product. If you will listen, they will tell you why they must buy your product. Ask the questions and stop talking. 

Open Ended Questions 

The client interview is no place for yes or no questions. Trial closes are also not appropriate at this point.
The questions you ask should be designed to allow customers to talk to you and for you to determine what their needs are. It’s acceptable to take a notebook into this meeting, but you should maintain eye contact and listen intently. If you must make notes, do it discreetly. If you relax, so will your client. 
Below are some examples to get you started. These are, by no means, the only questions you should ask. 
The interview will guide you to the next obvious question. 
1. What prompted you to contact my company or allow me to meet with you today? 
2. Can you give me details on how this challenge/need surfaced? 
3. What is it you would like to see accomplished? 
4. What other attempts have you made to solve this problem? 
5. Can you tell me about the success or failure of those attempts?
6. What other challenges are you facing that I might be able to help you resolve? 
7. What do you see as the next step? 
8. What are the budgetary limitations, if any? 
9. Are there other things I should know before moving forward? 
10. Who else will be involved in the final decision? 

Take your focus off of “closing the deal” and allow yourself to “help your client”. Gather all of the information you can. You’re going to need it to build your proposal. That’s the next step. 

Michelle C. Ritter is a the owner of , a web design and sales consulting company where she works with many types of product and service based industries in developing sales and marketing plans and effective online programs. She specializes in cross-industry communication and teaches a series of seminars for MTI Business Solutions ( ) that focus on teaching others to enjoy success in sales by learning how to speak in the language of the buyer.


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