How to Be a Memorable Salesperson Part 12: Answer Buyer Questions
In this, the final installment in our 12-part series about how to be a memorable salesperson, we’re going to take a look at one more skill. This one is tricky. It’s sensitive. It’s one that you may not want to admit you could use some help with.
Who said that everything about becoming memorable would be easy?
- Part 1: Create an Experience
- Part 2: Collaborate With Buyers
- Part 3: Personalize Your Pitch
- Part 4: Be a Giver
- Part 5: Create Value
- Part 6: Take Risks
- Part 7: Encourage Your Buyers
- Part 8: Be Authentic
- Part 9: Follow Through
- Part 10: Ask Better Questions
- Part 11: Listen With Empathy
How Will Answering Buyer Questions Help Me Be a Memorable Salesperson?
Take a step back and evaluate your sales calls objectively. As a field sales coach, I see this happening frequently. Most sellers aren’t aware they’re doing it until I replay the conversation to them. It seems to be a common blind spot.
What’s happening is that sellers enter a meeting fueled by adrenaline and with a laser focus on their sales call objective. They are amped up and single-minded in pursuit of that goal, whether it be to complete the needs assessment or to close the deal.
When a buyer asks an innocuous question, sellers usually do one of two things. They treat it as an objection or they ignore it altogether. Either response leaves the buyer feeling minimized and, sometimes, defensive.
In our research with 530 B2B buyers, the number one ranked behavior that buyers want sellers to demonstrate more often is this: “Answers my questions in a timely manner.”
That hurts because you think you are already doing it. Buyers think you’re not.
The reason sellers don’t do this might be the training they’ve received. For example, we’re told to never ever answer a price question until value has been established. So when the buyer asks, we deflect. That causes mistrust. If you do this, it makes you seem like every other seller and sales stereotype out there.
By contrast, sellers who listen well and answer buyer questions engender trust and earn more openness from the buyer in return. They also make themselves memorable.
What Can I Do to Answer Buyer Questions in a Timely Way?
Just do it. Answer questions when they are asked. Answer them:
You can even do this with the dreaded premature price question. Check this article on HubSpot for five different strategies for immediately responding to a buyer’s question about price.
Sure, answering questions at times that don’t align with your sales process may feel “wrong” or confusing to you. So what? If you’re counting on that process to make you memorable or to help you form a relationship with the buyer, you’re not gonna make it in sales.
You have to be nimble and responsive to be effective in selling. There is no hard-and-fast process that works 100% of the time. Constraining your buyers by expecting them to abide by your process is ludicrous. They don’t like it, and they won’t do it.
Being memorable ultimately means being human. It requires interacting with buyers who are unique individuals with their own needs, interests, and preferences. If you don’t answer their questions, you’re not showing them the dignity and respect that every human craves.
Give it a try and see what happens. You might be surprised at how much more responsive buyers are to you when you are responsive to them.
How Can I Learn More About Responding to Buyer Questions Effectively?
To work on the notion that the buyer/seller relationship can be more like any other human-to-human relationship, you’ll want to read Daniel Pink’s classic To Sell Is Human. Another good one that’s lesser known is Likeonomics by Rohit Bhargava.
There are some good tips to be found in the archives of The Sales Experts Channel, too. Take a look at the Objections, Negotiating, and Sales Productivity sections. This Channel is where you’ll find hundreds of presentations by global sales authors, speakers, trainers, coaches, researchers and thought leaders. Everything here is free and available on-demand.
And don’t forget to work on additional ways you can become more memorable:
Return to this series (see the links to the other articles at the top of this post) to read more about buyer research and field observations with sellers.
Check out this video playlist on the People First PS YouTube Channel with more tips and research with buyers. There are 25 videos there, each one lasting just 3-5 minutes.
Read the book that started it all. DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected is packed with ways you can make yourself more memorable to buyers. It was ahead of its time in bringing research with buyers directly to sellers.
Whatever you decide to do, make a commitment to become more memorable. Standing out in a crowded sea of sellers is a surefire strategy for boosting your sales success.