By Sid Chadwick
“We’re not sure what questions to ask --- for opening-up a discussion…. that are helpful to us, and our customer.”…………..Customer Service Director
When an Inside Sales Rep asked, “May I have a copy of your company brochure your people leave with prospects and customers? --- the response was, “We don’t have that --- yet?”
In a similar discussion, a long-term client’s Customer Service Director was reviewing their recently developed “Customer Profile” ---developed for their “Inside Sales Team”…to be used…..for…. “development of customers…and business”.
What had not yet been developed in their “Customer Profile” --- was an “outline” of information-type issues…and….Questions --- that could improve the company’s support….development…and follow-up with each customer.
Here are but a beginning sample:
- To the company owner, “What are your ambitions for your company?”
- To a company department manager, “What are the performance goals for your department this or next year, that you could share with me?”
- “What’s new in your company this year?”
- “Could you send me a copy of your most recent brochure that shows what you folks do, what you folks produce?”
- Are there any projects coming up that we might discuss, or review?
- Does your organization attend Trade Shows --- as an Exhibitor…?
Additionally, over time…and… when discussing an important project, here are a few questions that can lead to not only a much Improved Quote Letter, but you're winning the project --- when “these types of information”… are addressed in your Quote Letter:
- Have you produced this or a similar project before? What would you like to see improved?
- May I review, do we have time to review --- a “sample”… of your previous project?
- What types of “performance” or “communications issues” --- have you been disappointed not receiving….?
- Would a “daily project status update” --- be helpful…?
- Would you like to know in advance when you are expected to receive this project….?
- Would you like to know within 30 minutes of delivery, who signed for the project’s delivery, and when and where it was delivered?
- Would you be interested in a “post-production” review of your project, after it is produced, that includes, “What we learned --- that should lead to an improved and possibly lower cost project, next time?”
- How often does a project like this occur in your company?
- If this is a product launch, is there any interest in our producing this project as a digital project, that would support improved editing --- by your marketing department. That approach also tends to improve both “cash flow”….and “ROI” and productivity…. of the printed piece.
- How would you like for me to follow-up?
Whether you win or do not win --- this project, there are opportunities for continued dialogue, and follow-up, if we ask relevant, thoughtful questions, and provide our Buyer --- with helpful, useful information.
Every Sales Call, every phone call discussion --- generates an “Evaluation of the Supplier Rep --- by your Customer’s personnel.”
Shouldn’t we be working to create reactions, like, “That was helpful….that was Excellent…!”
“The best way to predict the future…. is to create it.”……Peter Drucker