Don’t Interrogate Your Prospect, Use This Approach…

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Two businessman in dark roomMany buyers have told us in the past that the one thing they hate when with salespeople is being sold to.

That seems odd, when you think the reason they are there is to sell their products!

But what they mean is that they dislike feeling under pressure, the salesperson using sales tricks and tactics, and the false promises that are only used to grab short-term deals.

What many have told us is they feel as if the qualification stage is like an interrogation; they see the sales person grilling them for information from a checklist, and they don’t appreciate it.

Of course, you need to ask probing sales questions to get information.

That’s obvious. But is there a way to get that info without it sounding like an interrogation?

Well, yes there is. The next time you’re with a prospect or customer and you want to find information, try this subtle but powerful approach.

When the customer says something with which you want to dig deeper, use the TED approach. TED stands for:

“Tell me more….Explain….Describe”

So, instead of asking ‘what do you mean?’ or ‘why do you say that?’ use one of those words in the TED method.

It would sound like this:

Prospect “We really need to improve our cash-flow over the next few months, as we want to expand”

You “That’s interesting…tell me more”

Prospect “Well, we have to improve the financial gearing of the company, so we’re making decisions in the short-term that will increase our bank balance”

Do you see how the phrase ‘tell me more’ gets the prospect to open up and give more detail.

You have got that information without asking any questions.

Another conversation may sound like this:

Prospect “Our copy machines have not been that productive for us over the last few months”

You “OK, could you explain what effect that has had on your productivity?”

Prospect “We’ve seen the amount of time it takes to complete customer orders increase”

The ‘explain’ approach asks for detail without the added pressure of interrogative questions.

Finally, the ‘Describe’ approach delves deeper into the results the customer has been getting:

Prospect “When we introduce a new system, our staff are always reluctant to accept the changes”

You “OK. Describe for me how you’d like it to be different”

Prospect “Well, if we could get buy-in for the changes first, maybe it would be easier to introduce the changes”

This gives you the chance to see what the prospect would like to see and doesn’t need to have a barrage of questions to uncover those needs.

So, by not interrogating your prospect, you create an open atmosphere where they feel they can share information and lessen any pressure they may feel when you are at the meeting to try and sell them something.

Try the ‘Tell me more…Explain….Describe’ approach next time and see what happens.

As the saying goes: Don’t sell…make it easy for them to buy!

Please try out our Telesales Training for the latest tips and techniques and also our generic Sales Training to help take your selling game onto the next level.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

450 sales questions free report

Updated on: 17 January, 2018

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