Questions That Sell By Paul Cherry

Written by Theresa Shafer. Posted in Books, Tools for Startups

I had promised to check out and report back on “Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process For Discovering What Your Customers Really Want” by Paul Cherry, which was recommended by Jennifer Vessels at Next Step’s workshop “How to Sell the Real Value of Your Solution” on Thursday, November 7, 2006.
This is a good book, with useful advice on how to have better conversations with your prospects. Three of better ideas for me were:

  1. Ask “Expansion Questions”
  2. Understand Your Prospect’s Perception of Risks and Rewards
  3. Understand Your Prospect’s Internal Customers, External Customers, and Competitors.

I will go into a little bit of detail on “Expansion Questions.” They are conversation openers that ask a prospect to share their perspective with you. They begin with phrases like “Describe for me…”, “Walk me through…”, “Can you please explain…” that don’t admit of simple yes, no, name, or number answers. The following three questions

  • What are the criteria for making this purchasing decision?
  • What is the time frame or deadline for the decision?
  • Who owns the decision and who is involved in making it?

can just as easily be captured by “Can you please walk me through the decision making process?” which is a nice way to uncover issues that more pointed questions might not elicit. At 180 pages the book is a quick read with a number of thought provoking suggestions for improving your ability to have a conversation with prospects and customers. There are a number of useful short articles on Cherry’s Performance Based Results site that will give you a flavor for the practical approach the book outlines.

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