María Alcaraz

10 effective steps in a commercial visit

Prepare your commercial visit properly and get the client.

Your words help build a relationship with a client. Therefore, you should carefully check what the most suitable questions in a commercial visit are. By doing so, you will be more effective and you will give your lead an opportunity to turn into a client.

Carefully prepare what you are going to say before a commercial visit. If you just ask pointless questions because you didn’t prepare for the meeting carefully enough, you will have just wasted your time and that of the person meeting you.

Many handbooks and seminars on sales prompt you to ask questions, but few places specify which kind of questions should be asked in order to be able to move forward. I have found myself, on many occasions, with a script that has not been as effective as I expected it to be.

The bright side of it is that every new meeting teaches you new things, and in my case I have made up a 10-step guide that helps me focus my target for selling.

1. Ask for permission

Before you start asking questions, I think you should ask for “permission” to ask those questions. The person you are meeting will be amazed at your asking that, because nobody asks for permission to ask questions: they simply do so.

By asking for permission you are already providing a differential value in your communication, which is not intrusive at all, but exactly the other way round: receptive and polite.

For example: May I ask you some questions with a view to gaining a better understanding of your business? ASK!!

2. Start in an open manner and later on move to more specific questions (closed questions)

Open questions are questions that move on the right direction to obtain the information that you are trying to find. They provide you with perspective... and they put you on the right track towards the specific (closed) answer you need to obtain.

Listen carefully to everything the other person is telling you, and above all try to understand what he is avoiding to say. Both will suggest new areas for in-depth exploration in order to obtain the information you need.

3. Build on the previous answers given by the person you are talking to

Let the other person speak for as long as he wishes to, and don’t interfere until he finishes saying what he has to say. Once he has finished, carefully build logical questions on the answers of the other person. The goal is to start creating an outline of all the information being provided by the person you are meeting.

4. Show your knowledge of appropriate industry-related information when you speak

When you start asking questions on the answers you obtained previously, remember to use words and terms from the sector or industry your potential client works in. Your goal is to show the person you are meeting that you know the sector, which is a first step towards winning over his confidence.

You will be successful if you do that. I won’t stop saying that!! People buy your products or services because they trust you!!!

5. Simple questions

Forget about using technical words in your conversation. If you want specific answers you need to ask simple, straightforward question.

This is not a matter of showing expertise in your area (the person you are meeting knows this already; after all, this is why you are meeting). This is a matter of showing you are an expert at solving the problem your potential client has.

6. Sequence

It is extremely important to maintain a “sequence of questions”. Remember that, while preparing your meeting, you may organize what your sequence of questions should be.

You should arrange a logical, orderly sequence of questions that enable you to obtain the information you need from your potential client.

One of my “tricks” involves using keywords. By using keywords, as well as the proper sales questions in a logical orderly sequence, you will engage their interest and will continue generating confidence.

No confidence, no sale.

7. You are selling, not threatening

Every time we go on a commercial visit, we need to take something into account: everybody sits at the meeting table with a given attitude or style that determines his or her interaction with the other party. Pressure to sell brings about a wish to achieve our target, but is a hindrance to the actions undertaken by the other party.

8. If a question focuses on a sensitive issue, explain why it is relevant

Knowing why a question on a sensitive issue is asked is important to identify a problem that may arise in the future.

However, your prospective client should not regard it as a threat, so it would be much better for you to tell him about it openly, in order to avoid further problems.

If you feel such questions are strongly rejected, you should choose whether you try and find the symptoms of such rejection or else you suggest leaving the question aside for a subsequent meeting.

9. Focusing on the benefits

 Many of your potential clients don’t know about the advantages your product or service may provide. Therefore, don’t ask them what benefits they are looking for: show them the benefits they will obtain and the advantages that will be achieved. Make things easier for them!!

10. Always keep a constructive attitude

Remember that you are the link between your company and your prospective client, so give out your messages in a constructive manner, with a view to finding out as much information as possible.

In order to do so, choose a relaxing tone of voice (not a weak one) and give the person who is talking to you the chance to answer.

Don’t haste to schedule the following visit (this is a negative aspect of many sales teams) and remember that devoting the proper amount of time provides you with a good enough perspective to evolve and win him over as a client.

The 10 steps mentioned above have always been useful to me, but I’m sure they can be improved.

Would you like to share yours?

I would love to compare my steps to yours.

Would you like to share them?

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