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Added: April 14, 2006
Article rating: 3.86 (of 5) - 14 votes

Customers Do Not Know How To Ask Good Questions - That Is Your Job

[ by Tom Richard ]
Customers will ask you a question and you'll proceed to talk about your product. That is why you are not making more sales. It is your product knowledge that keeps getting in the way. Not that you do not have enough product knowledge - trust me you have plenty. It is that you are not listening to what your customer is truly asking you. You are taking their questions or statements literally instead of trying to clarify what it is they are truly asking you.

Customers do not know what questions to ask. So instead they ask a question that they are comfortable with hoping that you will find out what they truly want. By getting to the heart of the matter and finding out why they ask what they ask, you will unlock the key to the sale.

If you are able to focus your presentation on the customer and how the customer will benefit from a product and your competition has focused their presentation on product knowledge; you will win the sale every time. Customers buy emotionally and they justify their purchase logically. This means that you have to sell emotionally and validate their decision with logic. It will never work the other way around.

When you focus on the emotional reason that the person is listening to you today and speak in terms of how the product will benefit them, you are giving the customer what they want; solutions!

Don't get me wrong, product knowledge is necessary, but you are very likely bringing it up too soon in your presentation. Your customer does not care about you, your product, or your company. They only care about themselves and fulfilling the need that they have today. Therefore everything that you talk about should be in terms of them and how they are going to benefit from your product. So put your product knowledge aside for one second and focus on your customer's needs.

The only way to find out the customer's needs is with good questions. If a customer immediately asks a specific technical question about your product, then you need to ask yourself why they are asking that question. Think about it for a minute. Most salespeople in your industry will immediately go into a product puke session about nuts, bolts, and widgets instead of asking the customer "why do you ask?" Remember, they are not having a conversation with you today to buy nuts, bolts, and widgets. They are having a conversation with you today for some other reason and it is your job to find out what that reason is.

The next time you are getting ready to launch into a presentation about why your product's specs are better than the product specs down the street; I challenge you to ask yourself, will this customer truly NOT benefit from the other product?

For more information on engaging questions that you can use to get your customer talking; send a blank email to

Tom Richard is the President of Tom Richard Marketing and specializes in both marketing and sales education. Visit his website at

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