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Several things about selling are still terribly exciting to me. One of them is effectively using Sales Questioning skills to land a deal. Another is seeing the moment when salespeople realize that they haven’t just gotten a little better at their job, they have made a quantum leap in sales performance. They have learned something transformative. They have gained sales capabilities—and earning potential—that will change their lives. They have become different, and they know it.
I’ve seen that moment of realization strike newly hired sales reps and 30-year veterans alike. I get excited just writing about it. The moment happens when salespeople begin to use the science of Action Selling with genuine artistry.
Action Selling is a scientific system, based on research-proven facts about the customer’s buying process. But art and creativity come into play, as well. That’s the most fun part. And nowhere does art play a bigger role than in the skill of questioning. That’s where you can really be different.
With artful questioning, you can differentiate everything
How many times have you given great answers to customers only to see them buy from a competitor? When the customer is asking and you’re answering, chances are you’re talking too much and listening too little.
Most of us in the sales training business harp about sales questioning. But, for me (and Action Selling), the goal isn’t just to get salespeople to ask questions so that they’ll shut up for a while and let the customer talk. Salespeople who are in tune with the artful part of selling don’t just question the customer; they ask “The Best Questions.”
What does that mean in a nutshell? Here’s one way to think of it: A lot of salespeople are savvy enough to ask what keeps the customer awake at night. But few understand that it’s equally important to ask, “What wakes you up in the morning?”
What causes pain and what causes joy? Great sales questioners find out both. When you do this the Action Selling way, you will know how to present your company and your product as solutions that both relieve pain and bring joy.
Above all, you can differentiate yourself, your company, and your product, not just in the customer’s eyes but in your own. You will have become a sales artist. That’s liberating.
Action Selling in Action
Action Selling has dramatically raised the confidence level of salespeople at electrical and plumbing-products wholesaler W.A. Roosevelt Co. of La Crosse, Wis., says company president Todd Eber.
The new confidence is justified, and vastly improved Sales Questioning skills are a big reason why. “We have a lot of long-standing customers, people we’ve been talking to for many years,” Eber says. After getting trained and certified in Action Selling, “one of our reps with 25 years of selling experience was calling on one of his long-time customers, and the customer said: ‘You know, nobody has ever asked me these sales questions, and I’ve never thought about these things before.’ “Our rep told me, ‘That’s when I realized that I’ve become different,” Eber continues. And Eber himself? “That’s when I get chills,” he says.