MKT 504 Midterm: MKT504 - Midterm - Ch. 4
Course CodeMKT 504
ProfessorDaryl D' Souza
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Chapter 4: Communication Skills
Sales Communication as a Collaborative Process
• Trust-based sales communication: A collaborative and two-way form of communication that
allows buyers and sellers to develop a better understanding of the need situation and work
together to co-create the best response for resolving the customer's needs
Verbal Communication: Questioning
• Salespeople skilled at questioning take a strategic approach to asking questions so that they may
o Control the flow and direction of the conversation
o Uncover important information
o Demonstrate concern and understanding
o Facilitate the customer's understanding
3 Types of Questions: Controlling Amount and Specificity of Information
• Open-end questions: "How do you manage your time?"
• Closed-end questions: "Do you manage your time well?"
• Multiple-choice questions (dichotomous): "Are you a good or bad time manager?"
• Purposeful, carefully crafted questions can encourage thoughtful responses from the buyer
4 Types of Questions: By Strategic Purpose
• Probing questions: Designed to penetrate below generalized or superficial information; You
want details; Trust needs to be build first
o Requesting clarification: "Can you share an example of that with me?"
o Encourage elaboration: "How are you dealing with that situation now?"
o Verifying information and responses: "So, if I understand you correctly…is that right?"
• Evaluation questions: Use open- and closed-end question formats to gain confirmation and to
uncover attitudes, opinions, and preferences of the customer
o Uncovering emotion: "How do you feel about…?"; "Do you see the merits of…?"; "What
do you think…?"
• Tactical questions: Used to shift or redirect the topic of discussion
o "Earlier you mentioned that…"; "Could you tell me more about how that might affect…"
• Reactive questions: Refer to or directly result from information previously provided by the other
o "You mentioned that…Can you give me an example of what you mean?"; "That is
interesting. Can you tell me how it happened?
Strategic Application of Questioning in Trust-Based Selling
• Generate buyer involvement
• Provoke thinking
• Gather information
• Clarify and emphasize
• Show interest
• Gain confirmation
• Advance the sale
SPIN Questioning System
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• A questioning system that sequences four types of questions designed to uncover a buyer’s
current situation and inherent problems, enhance the buyer’s understanding of the
consequences and implications of those problems, and lead to the proposed solution
o SITUATION: Finding out facts about the buyer’s existing situation
• Examples: How many people do you employ at this location? Can you please
describe your payroll process?
• Impact: Least powerful of the SPIN questions; Negative relationship to success;
Most people ask too many
• Advice: Eliminate unnecessary situation questions by doing your homework in
o PROBLEM: Asking about problems, difficulties, or dissatisfactions that the buyer is
experiencing with the existing situation
• Examples: What sorts of challenges do you face with your payroll process? Have
ever had trouble getting the payroll processed on time?
• Impact: More powerful than situation questions; People ask more problem
questions as they become more experienced at selling
• Advice: Think of your products or services in terms of the problems they solve
for buyers, not the characteristics that your products possess
o IMPLICATION: Asking about the consequences or effects of a buyer’s problems,
difficulties, or dissatisfactions
• Examples: How do your employees feel when the payroll process is delayed? Do
you have additional expenses as a result of having trouble with the payroll
process? How much?
• Impact: The most powerful of all SPIN questions; Top salespeople ask a lot of
• Advice: These questions are the hardest to ask; Prepare for these by identifying
and understanding the implications of various dissatisfactions suspected
o NEEDS-PAYOFF: Asking about the value or usefulness of a proposed solution; They seek
the buyer’s opinion as to what life would be like if the problem was solved
• Examples: How would your employees respond if you could assure them they
will always receive their paycheques on time? Would you like to learn more
about how we can help you accomplish this
• Impact: Versatile questions used a great deal by top salespeople; These
questions help the buyer to understand the benefits of solving the problem
• Advice: Use these questions to get buyers to tell you the benefits that your
solution can offer
ADAPT (Similar to SPIN)
• ASSESSMENT (Questions): Broad bases and general facts describing situation; Non-threatening as
no interpretation is requested; Open-end questions for maximum information
o Examples: What types of operating arrangements do you have with your suppliers? Who is
involved in the purchase decision-making process?
• DISCOVERY (Questions): Questions probing information gained in assessment; Seeking to uncover
problems or dissatisfactions that could lead to suggested buyer needs; Open-end questions for
o Examples: I understand you prefer a JIT relationship with your suppliers — how have they
been performing? How do you feel about your current suppliers occasionally being late with
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