A few people have asked me to say more about SMARTER questions than just the checklist of good questions that I published in the previous quote. There is some detail already on the website under the more detailed guide, but I thought I would use this post to talk more about why SMARTER questions are so useful to sales people.
One thing I quickly realised as a sales person is that all sales people tend to ask their customers the same situational questions. By situational I mean questions that ask for purely factual information around their current situation e.g. who is your current supplier, how many years have you owned XXXX, etc. These are questions you need to know, but just think how boring this is for the customer!
So, the idea of SMARTER questions is to ask questions that make the customer think, evaluate or speculate and offer an opinion, after all we all love to offer opinions. This helps you position yourself higher up the food chain than other sales people, enhancing the customer’s opinion of the value of your call. I will talk about the vendor – preferred supplier – problem solver – trusted advisor curve in a later post, but the aim of SMARTER questions is to get you to the problem solver level.
SMARTER questions invite customer involvement, asking them to focus on the most important business issues and will often expose underlying issues and produce high-quality information. Dare to be different, ask SMARTER questions and get ahead of the sales pack!