Qualifying vs closing

The art of effective question asking (qualifying) determines the effectiveness and the success of the "close".
EXAMPLE: Let's assume you're a candy sales rep. You sell both chocolate and non-chocolate candy. I'm your potential customer. You know nothing about me but you're trying to sell me chocolate candy. You proceed to tell me how great the candy tastes, how exquisite the texture is, how incredible the quality of the chocolate is, and, by the way, how affordable this candy is because your company is doing a promotion on this outstanding chocolate candy. However, you don't sell me a single piece of chocolate candy. WHY?
You assumed I liked chocolate candy and I would buy it based on the information you provided. But the most important thing you forgot to identify or ask me is "do you like chocolate candy?".
The answer is "no, I hate chocolate candy?". But since you never took the time to understand me as your potential new customer, you lost today's sale and future sales a well.
Better Approach: I'm still the customer, you're still the candy sales rep. You're still promoting chocolate candy. The difference is - upon meeting me and establishing a rapport, your first question might be.

"Do you like chocolate candy?".

My response "no, I never eat chocolate candy".

Your response "you never eat chocolate candy, why?".

My response "because I'm allergic to it".

QUESTION: Do you believe it would make any difference to me, the customer, how the chocolate looks, tastes, is processed, or even how affordable it is? Your answer should be "no". However, just because I don't eat chocolate candy doesn't mean I don't know a number of other people who love chocolate candy. Also, you sell hard candy not just chocolate candy, so maybe the next question would be:

"Do you eat any kind of candy?".

My response "occasionally".

Your response "when you say occasionally, how often is

that?".

My response "2 to 3 times per month".

Your response "when you do eat candy, what type of candy do you eat?"

My response "hard-type, mint candies".

Your response "have you ever tasted our incredible hard, mint candies?".GET THE PICTURE? "Its all about asking, not selling." Once you have identified what's important to me, the customer, you have positioned yourself to sell me what I want - not what you have.

Accomplished sales trainer, recruiter, manager, and consultant. Currently co-owner of United Sales Training (http://www.unitedsalestraining.com), a company developed out of necessity to help individuals and companies understand the importance of effective selling and communication skills, through the introduction of personalized selling tools focused around the "keep it simple" approach. Follow our "tried and true" system and we'll guarantee the results.

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