By Sid Chadwick – 11/02/18
Published in American Printer
“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