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Selling to consumers - Helpful information to gather during the sales call

When selling to consumers, regardless of industries and market segments, what information do you recommend a salesperson make a habit of gathering during his or her sales calls? - by Community Mailbox
When selling to consumers, regardless of industries and market segments, what information do you recommend a salesperson make a habit of gathering during his or her sales calls?
This is another one of those questions that might attract some bulleted lists. I'm going to shy away from that by sharing my basis of understanding on the topic.

First you have to understand that "consumers" for the most part spend their money three different ways. I'll name the first two so that we can dispense with them. I'm referring to consumable commodities that are a part of our daily lives, and, compelling expenditures, i.e. utilities, medical expenses, some forms of insurance, etc etc.

The third category which pertains to this topic and this forum is the bringing about of CHANGE. That is THE recurring theme in a world where people buy for a lot of reasons. The act of Selling to consumers (B2C), such as what some forum members here DO, is entirely an act of helping the prospect bring about change.

When we are addressing "helpful information" as the topic states, that information must pertain to change. Obviously the first piece of information has to be "change from WHAT."

We often stress the importance of questions in selling and sometimes we lose sight of the fact that questions are merely a part of a bigger picture--the EFFECTIVE conversation. So rather than the seemingly obligatory bulleted list, I'll state what that sales conversation should be about if we are to uncover the information.

The information should be about the past, the present, and the future, as it applies to why a prospect would seek change. What worked in the past in the area that the seller provides a solution for? What did not work? What's going on NOW, where a prospect might entertain change? What are the requirements of a change, both short term and/or long term for the future. Those requirements vary widely among prospects.

If you engage a prospect in a conversation about the reasons for change and the benefits of change, you will collect the pertinent information that will enable you to provide and facilitate the details of making that change (making the SALE). - by Ace Coldiron
You want to know what they think they want and how they decided on that plus the price they are considering.

You also probably want to know if this is a big decision and if they are using a set of criteria to evaluate option.

If they are just starting to research options you definitely want to know that.

You want to know when they want the solution and when they will make the buying decision.

You want to know what they want to accomplish during your meeting.

You want to find out what would stop them from taking action immediately - by Seth
Helpful information to gather with consumers.

How do you receive this helpful information? There are many ways to gather information from a client. Many have a belief that clients do not want to be sold. What I have found with the clients I am in contact with I must use all the resources available. Not all information gathered is by questions and answers.

My first step is observation. I observe the neighborhood and everything in each of the neighborhood yards. I notice the upkeep or lack of upkeep. I observe the driveways, how clean, cracked concrete etc. I take notice of the vehicles parked in the drives and along the road. I notice what kind of plants and how they are kept. This informs me of pride in their possessions and vanity.

I observe what the clients are wearing and may even start the conversations about what they are wearing. An example the client is wearing an Ohio State jersey or shirt. I immediately will focus on that as a start of the conversation. How they respond to those questions gives me a route I must follow. While the client is taking me to their issue we are still discussing whatever they want to discuss and where our conversation is heading. When I am at the problem I always repeat these words I can fix that or I can take care of that.

While walking to the problem I am now observing what I am passing as I walk in their home. I look at the pictures hanging on the wall. I never know if we both know a common person that creates an instant friendship. This happens when a friend of theirs is also a friend of mine.

Discussions that do not concern the product or problem inform the sales technician of many possibilities. Clients love to talk about them, let them for as long as they want. During this time the information I am gathering about the client is invaluable. They inform me how I must answer any questions or concerns. I am being informed by the client how they want to be talked to and in what manner. Once trust is built I then go into my questions concerning their comfort level with what they already have and how that is working for them. I want to know what all they do with the product they now have and how we can discover more needs together. I find out how happy they have been with the existing product while finding out how much more they want to receive from that product.

The next step is an inspection. We all perform an inspection of some sort with every sale. Looking at the existing equipment is an inspection and a great way to discover extra needs. When we ask questions about the clients existing equipment becomes a verbal inspection. While I am inspecting I am asking more questions to keep the client interested and talking. The more the client speaks the more information I gather. The client informs me exactly how much they are willing to spend and for what they are willing to spend.


After all the questions have been asked and answered I then ask one more question prior to the solution ,presentation of solution and price and that question is how do you think I will do for you today? Depending on how they answer this question informs me of my next step. When they respond I think you will do great we start discussing solutions. I am ready for my presentation paper close.

There is more to this then what I can write in this forum thread. To put all the pieces of the puzzle together this forum thread would turn into a 20,000 or more word book. The more the client speaks the more information you gather about the client and their personality and quirks. You learn the psychology of the client and the client will inform you of anything and everything on their mind.
I adore this part of the sales process the interaction with the client helping them discover wants and needs. This has allowed me to have an unbelieveable closing ratio for many years.
- by rich34232
You would want to find out why the prospect would buy your product or service (what needs or desires do they need to be met?).
Yes. Certainly that's a good summary of what it's all about. - by Ace Coldiron
You want to know what they think they want and how they decided on that plus the price they are considering.

You also probably want to know if this is a big decision and if they are using a set of criteria to evaluate option.

If they are just starting to research options you definitely want to know that.

You want to know when they want the solution and when they will make the buying decision.

You want to know what they want to accomplish during your meeting.

You want to find out what would stop them from taking action immediately
I believe those are all good things to find out. - by Ace Coldiron
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