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Using SURVEY's to Sell More, Sell Better, Attract New Business Opportunities!

Imagine that you could conversationally validate what you believe too be the major reasons are that people do business with you and your organization, while simultaneously being able to identify new selling opportunities?

The strategic use of a SURVEY can produce valuable insights for where business opportunities, where the market trends will be sifting and early waring clues to where you may lose business. The art and science to survey is all about, knowing how, where and when to incorporate one of three core survey questions. As a professional sales person, you can deploy survey questions conversationally and very informal to gather insights from your marketplace you build better, deeper and richer relationships with your clients and the marketplace. And, yes you can make these very complex, involved, technical instruments that can be directed at specific demographics to solicit specific information as well.

Let’s go low tech and high yield.

There are three different informational generating survey questions you can ask, and you can take these three and drill down with sub-questions or categories if you were designing an involved survey. Consider:

  • LIKE – Always ask the “like” questions chronologically first when securing feedback on why someone is doing business with you; Or, ask the “like” questions when you are talking with a prospect to learn what they are getting presently from their market relationships, so you will know as a minimum what you must meet or beat; Or, ask the “like” questions when presenting options to someone to identify their dominant buying interest.

    Examples may sound like: What do you like most about how we take care of you? What do you like most about doing business with me/us?; What do you like most about this deliverable?; What do you like most about joining our organization?; What feature do like most about our on-line portal you are using?; With the other vendors/competitors that you do business with, what do you like most about them and how they take care of you?

    LIKE = Current $ and why they are doing business with you!

  • ADD – Ask these styles of questions second chronologically if you have time or the other person/group is willing to provide you with additional insights; These are business development questions and reveal from a market prospect where there may be opportunities to do business with them, that they are not presently getting from their current relationships? Adding these into a conversation, email or structured survey being emailed, mailed, asked or focused-grouped with existing clients, will reveal other business opportunities that you were capitalizing upon.

    Examples may sound like: Is there anything else I can do for you today?: Is there anything else you are needing for your next business project or activity that I can provide to you?; Is there anyone else you know that could benefit from what you allowing me to serve you with, that you could introduce me to?; It only makes sense if you are doing this, to also consider….?; When will you be wanting to place your next order and can I serve you then?; You are making a great decision to join our organization, who else respects and follow you, that you and I should talk to next?; With the other vendors/competitors that call on you, what are they not doing for you, that would be of great value?

    ADD = More $$ and additional selling opportunities that you may be missing by not asking for!

  • STOP/ELIMINATE – Strategically use these when you have conditioned the market or survey recipient to be non-judgmental, non-emotionally involved and clear logic focused. These questions are designed to gather deep honest feedback from the other party that typically is not offered freely and early on in relationships. These questions also allow you to uncover possible frustrations and disappointments with clients/members in your business portfolio. With this information not revealed to you, you can’t address it and win the client back and also, if unsolicited can become potential future client retention issues. In that these questions can be inherently critical or negative, you will want to chronologically ask these in third order.

    Examples may sound like: Is there anything that you are having frustrations with at this time with our deliverable or organization?; If you could improve upon one piece of the transaction work with us, what would that be?; If you could eliminate one step in the purchase process, what would that be?; Is there anything that would give you cause to not come back to us for your next business needs?; With the other vendors/competitors that call on you, what do they do that frustrates you the most?

    STOP/ELIMINATE = ZERO $ in the future and where you are about lose clients or run them off from doing business with you!

So, integrating these three styles of questions into your conversations, selling presentations, contract/application/order transaction process, into a phone call or follow- up email or letter can ingratiate you to others better and provide you with valuable intel to better understand others and serve the marketplace.

Thank about using these survey questions with you VIP, COIs and top clients on a regular basis. Think about if you or your organization is about to change the way the market does business with you or how you engage the marketplace, these three questions strategically delivered to the right person can give you powerful information as to better engage the market or be able to do predictive analysis as to how others will respond, react or be complacent in your next interaction with them.

If you decide to survey your entire client base, data base or a market segmentation, here are a few additional strategic moves to be able to use the feedback appropriately.

  • Code or break down all surveys into two demographics as a macro, the VITAL FEW as your core and most valuable contacts, and the USEFUL MANY which are all other contacts or respondents.
  • Now with the responses you can consider the source, and not make a major business change off of the USEFULL MANY, that are not your loyal, best, most valuable clients and alienate the VITAL FEW whom are you best. You may get sound feedback from the USEFULL Many and this may give cause for ancillary business opportunities or new product/deliverable/service extensions or introductions, but be guarded that you not attack your primary business off of just what the USEFULL MANY may say.

    If you recall one of the greatest product change debacles in the past Century, that would be when COKE eliminated a 100-year old brand for a new flavor! What the brilliant marketing team for COKE had was substantial statistical data that people loved the new flavor in taste tests, what they forgot was the obvious … Who said they loved it and who said the disliked it?

    Remember, USEFULL MANY demographics respond the greatest, share the most, and talk the loudest. In most every case this is also the demographic that is the least loyal and has the greatest degree of apathy, discourse and bitterness as individuals – they are apathetic trend followers.

How you gather the survey data is also of consideration. You can merely weave these questions into your conversations or you can create instruments to gather these. Consider:

  • The easier you make it for someone to give you feedback and be done the greater the volume of data collection will be.
  • A question with limited response one can identify, works best.
  • A question with a fill in the blank response, gets the second-best response.
  • A question with an open ended narrative space for someone to write a novel or appear you are asking for a novel, gets the least amount of response.
  • If you want the hard document back, provide a return envelope and postage pre- paid if you want anything of value to come back
  • You can use on-line portals that market, administrate and facilitate surveys; There are a lot of on-line vendor options available for use or tie-in use with your CRM/Data Base systems.
  • When you are with a group of profile prospects or clients, these are great occasions while you have them together to draw upon them for some feedback on things you are doing, considering to do, or wanting open ended question feedback on how to better engage the marketplace.

Most sales professionals and sales organizations do not make survey-speak a part of their regular marketplace interactions and believe that survey work is a special stand-alone dedicated endeavor done formally annually, and this is an unfortunately missed opportunity to make SURVEY’s a way to sell more, sell better and attract new business opportunities!

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