Whenever I run a sales training workshop I ask the participants to raise their hands if they like to be sold to. Few if any hands stir. Then I ask them to raise their hands, if they like to buy things. Immediately I am greeted with a sea of hands.

We can all learn from this simple lesson. Nobody likes to be “sold” but everybody likes to “buy”. So how can you help your customers to buy?

Well the first and most crucial step is to find out what they need and perhaps more importantly what they want. Far too many salespeople equate selling with talking about their product, when in fact, they haven’t identified whether their client has a need or want that they can satisfy.

In order for a prospective customer to buy they must have an unmet need or an unresolved problem. Skillful questioning will identify this and open up the possibility of a sale.

Warning: Don’t assume that the first things the client says they want is what they really want. Sometimes it’s just a rehearsed, knee jerk response that isn’t accurate. Use the “What else?” question to uncover their whole shopping list and then ask them to tell you which is the most important issue to them.

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