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Customer Focused Questions

A while ago (4 pairs of glasses or 2013 depending on how you measure time) I created a quick video reminder on the difference between:

INTERNAL – sales bullpen questions
Customer Focused Questions

Regardless, if this is a reminder or the first time you’re hearing the idea… it is still as critical for your success today as it was then!

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Today I have to share one of my biggest pet peeves that I hear when listening to telesales calls. I hear people talking about sales bullpen questions with their actual prospects.

Your sales manager asks you, “where’s the PO? it’s in your forecast” and you, the salesperson, call and say “hey, where’s my PO? my manager is asking about it.”

How self-serving can you get? That comes across like an internal memo leaked to the press. It might be true but it isn’t packaged for public consumption.

Please view internal questions as the result you’re trying to achieve not what you’re going to ask. Instead, translate that result into a customer-facing question. Need a few examples?

  • John, I know the project is scheduled to start in a couple of weeks. I’m starting to get concerned about being able to meet your deadlines.
  • Betty, when we spoke about your purchasing process it seems like I should have received the PO by now. Is there something I forgot?
  • Ralph, with projects like this, timeframes typically are fluid. Can we go over where you are now and what the current dates are?

Although I used “where’s that PO? the deals in your forecast” as my example, this idea goes for any sales bullpen questions you might be asked by your manager, a cube mate, or a product manager. In your head remember the question they’re asking is the result and then translate it into customer-facing language. If you can’t don’t call. Ask the person looking for the result to help you craft the right question to ask.

All my best,

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