The Probe step is probably the single most important step in the selling process and the one that’s done the poorest by many salespeople.
If the point of selling is to provide a solution to your prospect’s problems or to help him make an informed buying decision, how can you accomplish that if you don’t first make an attempt to understand his problem or uncover his needs and wants? That’s the primary purpose of the Probe step.
Too many salespeople are so anxious to tell the prospect all about what it is they are selling that they spend very little time, if any, probing to ascertain if the prospect has any real interest in what the salesperson is selling. They need to put their ears to work before exercising their mouths.
So then, the purpose of the Probe step is to:
• Qualify your prospect, (turn suspects into prospects)
• Start the rapport-building process
• Establish credibility, and
• Create trust.
How can you use the Probe step to establish credibility and trust? After all, all you’re doing is asking questions. In fact, because all you’re doing is asking questions and not selling is the key to building trust with your prospect. You establish yourself as less a salesperson and more a resource person.
The quality of your questions establishes your credibility. The better and more meaningful your questions are, the higher your credibility. Of course, the reverse is also true. Ask dumb or irrelevant questions and your credibility goes down. What questions do you ask?
Improving how you do the probe step will improve your sales performance.
For more information on training and coaching to develop probing and other sales skills, please refer to The Right Skills.
Salesforce Training & Consulting is a professional sales training firm and Salesforce.com training firm based in Toronto, with training labs in Boston and Chicago, providing sales coaching, sales management consulting, salesforce implementation, sales training and sales personnel assessments.