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Win Sales through Effective probing



Once you have welcomed your customer and established a genuine connection, the next pivotal step is to transition into the diagnostic phase. Picture this: You're shopping for shoes, and the salesperson bombards you with various styles without bothering to understand your preferences. It's a frustrating experience, and you end up seeing the salesperson as a nuisance rather than a trusted advisor.


This trial-and-error approach not only hampers the customer experience but also contradicts the principles of consultative selling, which aim to position you as an expert advisor customers can trust. The key to avoiding this misstep is through probing—asking customers questions to diagnose their needs before making recommendations.


Why Should You Probe?

Personalized Recommendations: By probing, you provide the customer with the opportunity to share their needs. This, in turn, allows you to make personalized recommendations tailored to their preferences.

Valuing the Customer: Asking questions demonstrates a genuine interest in the customer as an individual. It makes them feel valued, fostering a positive and personalized shopping experience.

Building Trust: Recommending products hastily based on assumptions can break trust, leading customers to view you as a pushy salesperson. Probing helps build trust by showing that you're invested in understanding their requirements.


How Should You Probe?

Probing is an art that involves the use of various types of questions, mainly open-ended and close-ended. Consider adopting the funnel technique for effective probing:

1. Start with Open-Ended Questions: Initiate conversations with questions like "How may I help you?" or "What are you looking for?" These open-ended questions encourage customers to provide descriptive answers, offering valuable insights.

2. Transition to Close-Ended Questions: As you narrow down the customer's needs, shift to close-ended questions such as "When do you need it by?" or "Which color do you prefer?" These questions are specific, expecting a precise response and aiding in the narrowing down process.

3. End with Close-Ended Questions: When you're ready to close the sale, conclude with a close-ended question like "Shall I keep this aside for you?" or "May we proceed to billing?" This ensures that you stay in control of the interaction and move it forward effectively.


When Do You Use These Skills?

Primarily, the probing skills come into play after the initial welcome and before making recommendations. However, there might be instances where you need to ask questions at a later point, especially if the customer expresses a desire for further discussion.


Sonalis Tip: Positioning Probes with Context

When asking potentially sensitive or personal questions, ensure that your inquiries are framed in a non-offensive manner. For instance, if you need to ask about age, provide context such as, "May I know your age, as our product range is tailored to different age groups?" This approach, known as positioning a probe with context, adds value and encourages the customer to share willingly.


In conclusion, mastering the art of probing is integral to consultative selling. By understanding the significance of asking questions, employing a mix of open and close-ended queries, and knowing when to use them, you elevate the customer experience and position yourself as a trusted advisor.

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