Recently I asked a good friend and dear colleague, Ron Finklestein, Owner and President of the RPF Group, Inc. to write a blog on the key factors that drive a customer to buy. With years of experience, below are Ron’s 6 key questions a vendor must answer to gain trust, build rapport and ultimately acquire new customers. In my opinion, Ron is spot on. Happy reading.
There are six questions your prospects want answered before they buy. If you miss one of these questions, you jeopardize the selling opportunity. Let’s look at each question and why it is important to the buyer.
Question #1: “What do you do?”
If I asked you “What you do?” what would you tell me?
If you answered, “I am a financial planner,” or “I am an accountant,” or “I fix computers,” then you got it wrong. This is not what you do; this is how you do it.
People want to know what you do before they want to know how you do it.
For example, if you are a financial planner, here is what I would hope to hear: “I help people make the right choices about their money.” Or “I help them make wise money decisions.” Or “I build, protect and transfer wealth (my favorite).” If you are a financial planner and you are reading this, please do not use that line. I helped a financial planner develop this and it has served him well. But—you can create your own by determining what your clients experience when they work with you.
I use a financial planner as an example because I sat down with a financial planner several years ago and I asked him, “What do you do?” His answer was, “I’m a financial planner.” And I thought, “No, that’s not what you do, that’s how you do it.”
I told him, “We are meeting because you obviously either want my money or you want an introduction to my client base, right? So tell me, what is it that you do that would give me a reason to give you my money or to introduce you to somebody that would benefit from your product or service (and how would I identify them)?” I got a blank look as an answer.
I would have been hard pressed to purchase anything from him. He could not give me a reason why I should buy from him.
The answer to this question is where the selling process starts. When you tell people the outcomes they will experience when they work with you, you give them an opportunity to learn more or leave.
Question #2: “How are you different?” or “What’s in it for me?”
Let’s bring this back to our financial planner. If I asked our financial planner “How are you different?” what would he say? This is really important because there are thousands of financial planners in Northeast Ohio. The last figure I heard was that 89% leave the business in the first three years. Knowing this, why would I hire you?
Do you make your ideal customer choose you every time regardless of price?
Your job is to marry your skills and the outcome you provide to the prospects who have that need. Don’t make your prospect figure it out.
That’s all your prospects want to know.
Question #3: “Why are you the right and safe choice?”
Why should I care if you are different? This is the same as asking your prospect to believe you are the right and safe choice. “I am the right and safe choice because __________.” Once they know what you do and you tell them what’s in it for them, they’re going to want to know the answer to this question:
“How do I know you are the right and safe choice for me, right now?”
This question addresses a very powerful question for your prospects, which is “Can I trust you to do what you say you will do?”
Trust is a big part of the equation but not the only part. The answers to the first two questions are designed to begin the process of building trust. Your answer should be outcome driven. Tell them in very emotional in terms they will understand. Don’t make them guess.
Your prospect wants to know how you are going to make it safe for them. They want to know how you can make it safe for them to choose you.
Question #4: “What do you do better than anyone else in the world (in your industry)?”
You are unique. There is no one like you. The uniqueness you bring to the business is a great example of how to answer this question. It is not the only answer, but it is a great place to start.
People are asking us questions about proof, proof of what works. And we have to figure that out very quickly from the questions: “What would you do for my business?” or “How are you going to help me?” Effectively we need to answer those questions for the prospect and not make them guess.
Let’s go back to “What do you do better than anyone else?” This question sounds hard but it can be very simple.
How many people have heard the latest Southwest Airlines commercial, the ones where they say “Bags fly free?”
What Southwest Air does better than anybody else in the whole world is very simple. What is it?
Yes, Southwest is fun to fly on, but what do they do that no other airline does? “Bags fly free.” That’s really all it is. They are the only airline that does not charge for bags. This isn’t rocket science.
You told me what you do better than anyone else in the whole world. Why should your prospects care?
Question #5: “Why is that important to my prospects?”
This isn’t the same question as #3, although it is similar. “What makes you the right and safe choice?” was part of the trust-building process. But this question, #5, is the beginning of the buying process. The answers to the first three questions established trust, the answer to the fourth question differentiated you from your competitors, and now this question moves into allowing the customer to buy from you.
So you have to define the problem and your prospect must agree it is a problem before a problem exists.
Your customer is looking for five things from you:
- Will you make them more money?
- Will you give them more free time?
- Will you create more value?
- Will you save them money?
- Will it reduce risk?
Establishing at least one of those things is the beginning of the business case that establishes why you are the right person or your company is the right company.
It’s just that simple.
Question #6: “Why buy from me?” or “Prove it.”
So here’s the last question. Why buy from me? This is really the fundamental question; this is where the proof exists. Do you have the credentials? Can you say, “I’ve done this for another company and I can do the same for you”?” Do you have endorsements from others who will vouch for you?
Answering the six questions will go a long way to building a strong relationship because when you talk to your prospect in words they understand, they will feel heard and understood. You will be seen as the right and safe choice.