Good Questions and Sales Process

Friday was a different kind of day.

  • It was Friday the 13th.
  • I worked.
    • I retired 12/29.
    • Even before that, I didn’t work on Fridays.
  • I went on a ‘face to face’ sales call in the prospect’s office.
    • Because my practice has been global for the past few years, most everything happened on the phone or computer.
    • Even before that, prospects came to my office, not me to theirs.
But there were circumstances.
  • Carole Mahoney and I were speaking at Maine Marketing Association’s Lunch and Learn.
  • Carole asked me if I would accompany her on a sales call.
  • When we agreed to the Lunch and Learn, Elaine and I were thinking, ‘long weekend at the beach house’.
Enough about how I got there. Let’s get to “Good Questions” and “Sales Process”.
This call started off like any other call.
  • High powered executive, busy, important, no real problems, wondering why I was there.
  • At 2:16, he said, “I’ve got 30 minutes and we’re 16 minutes in and I don’t have a clue what the relationship between you two is or what you can do for me.”
  • At 2:39, I asked, “Do you know that you’re 9 minutes over?” He replied, “I’m OK.”
  • We talked until 3:15.
Why did I stay? Because he started answering my questions with “Good question!”, “I don’t know.” “HHMMM.” and by staring off into space thinking. He was expecting a vendor to come in and tell him all the things that the vendor could do, but he got questions that he needed the answers to.
We closed with this exchange.
“Can your salespeople execute the strategies of the company?”
“Good question.”
“Wouldn’t that be good to know?”
“Let’s talk again.”
Now, in realty, in order to know whether the salespeople CAN execute the strategies, don’t we all need to have a clear picture of what those strategies are and while we’re at it, shouldn’t the strategies be given the ‘sniff test’ to make sure that the strategy will get the company where they want to be?

3 thoughts on “Good Questions and Sales Process

  1. Dominik, I agree that we need to determine willingness. However, the answer is much more subjective and may be tainted by the manager’s ability (or lack thereof) to motivate and manage.

  2. Let’s take it one step further shall we? Are the sales people, and the executive management, willing to let sales not only have a seat at that the strategy table, but be a major driver of it?

    Sales is not just the elephant trudging down the path someone lays out. Sales has a vantage point that is being under utilized by nearly every CEO I have talked to.

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