The Seven Key Questions

posted: Friday, August 20, 2021

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Asking questions for a salesperson is an important tool in providing excellent customer service and enabling you to sell based on the reasons a customer wants to buy. Asking the right questions will get you the information you need to meet the wants and needs of your customers. Every question is designed to obtain any information that will lead to a closed sale, and a happy customer.

  1. Who recommended our store: Asking this question gives the salesperson an idea of how many referrals you are getting and if past customers are sending their friends in, then the salesperson, and the store, must be doing something right? Further, you will be able to thank customers that are helping to grow your business. It is also a subtle way to increase the customer base in your and your store by letting it be known that you have earned and received recommendations from your past customers.
  2. Who are you shopping for: By determining who the customer is shopping for, the salesperson can provide better and more accurate information. For example, someone shopping for their wife is going to be looking for something different than the dad shopping for his daughter. In other words, it will give you a gender and the relationship of the person that will be receiving the merchandise.
  3. What brings you into the store today: This is the transition question between your greeting and getting to business. It's important to know the goal of your customer in order to best meet their needs. Some may be ready to buy the item and others maybe just getting started, and seeking information. In many cases you may get back a reply of "I'm just looking." In this case give the customer a verbal map of the store, which may get you the answer to what they are shopping for.
  4. What have you seen before that you really like: If a husband is shopping for an anniversary present, then it would be a good idea for the salesperson to try and find out what the customers wants and needs. Obtaining this information will give the salesperson a road map to satisfying the customer. In addition, you will find out what you are up against from a competitive standpoint. They may have been shopping the internet; in which case you would want to tell the customer all the benefits from buying from you. Further you will be able to sell the store, as many of you know I believe it is more important to sell the store than it is to sell your merchandise.
  5. What's the special occasion: In many situations a customer is buying an item to celebrate some special event or occasion. Your ability to share in the excitement of the event will go a long way in helping you develop a relationship with your customer. Take the time to share in their event. Listen and focus on not only what the customer is buying, but the emotional reason behind the purchase. By sharing in the celebration, you accomplish two things. You provide excellent customer service and you, most likely, establish a relationship that will lead to repeat business.
  6. What's important to him/her in selecting something new: This is the single most important question in all of sales. The secret to increasing sales is to sell based on the reasons the customer wants to buy, not the reason you want to sell. Further, if the customer doesn't know, then they are asking for your expertise in helping them make the selection. People buy for all kinds of different reasons, if you don't know what the reasons are, and you sell based on what you think is important, that is when you will get objections that are very difficult to overcome.
  7. When is the special occasion: If there is a timeline, then it's important for the salesperson to know that information. Do you have time to special order, do you need to sell out of the showcases or off the floor? Will layaway be an option or do they need it now? All important information. If the customer does have some time, don't make the mistake of telling them they don't need to buy now. Whatever the customer's response, it is always coming up quickly, or they are wise to do their shopping early etc.

Asking the right questions will get you the information you need to best serve each and every customer. Memorize and use these seven key questions and I assure you your sales will increase. In addition, you don't need to ask all seven of the key questions; however, you do need the answers to all of them. Be sure to make it conversational as opposed to interrogational. Sales is a series of questions to get to the point where the customer simply says three magic words "I'll take it"!

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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