The following 4 tips will provide valuable intelligence about a prospect and/or sales opportunity:

A recent webinar conducted by Tom Searcy at HuntBigSales.com provided a list of tips on the importance of asking questions to getting sales.

Here is my summary and input for how they relate best for the building product industry.Building product customers (distributors, dealers, builders, remodelers, etc.) have many product options and often will sway in loyalty for a good deal. This makes the ever-present four P’s of marketing (Product, Price, Promotion, and Place) continue to be important for CMOs when marketing their products.

Strategic information is just as crucial for landing the big building product sale and understanding how and when to ask the important questions can determine if your company will land or lose the big sale.

Tip #1: Observe Caution

Do not make your prospective client uncomfortable by making the discussion feel like an interrogation. The building product sales process can be lengthy; therefore, spacing your questions over a period of time using multiple media tools can make the questions seem less intrusive.

Tip #2: Use the Barbara Walters Approach

From a 1970s book by Barbara Walters How to Talk to Practically Anyone about Practically Anything, there are a few items that can help sell building products:

  • Be authentic: If you are going to ask the question, you need to be interested in the response.
  • Provide the reason you are asking the question: This approach can build trust with your prospect.
  • Honor the answer: Get the information you need, but do not challenge an answer, assume it is valid and honest.

Tip #3: Beware of the 4 Major Competitors of Every Deal

Your main competition can come in many forms and isn’t always a single company or product

  • Doing Nothing: Your biggest competitor is always yourself. If you don’t take any action, you may just be putting yourself out of business.
  • Brand #1: The biggest brand is always perceived as safest choice.
  • The Incumbent: With any opportunity there is probably a pre-existing relationship. The trust and experience that exists can be tough to overcome.
  • Price: A common competitor in the building industry is anyone with a lower price. This can also be your own pricing structure that can stand in the way of your company’s success.

Tip #4: Toxic Clients and Black Hole Prospects

Toxic (Black Hole) Prospects can be dangerous to building product companies as they have a tendency to challenge quality, stretch out payments and not honor billing.

  • Black Hole Prospects are always close to “making a deal” or “making a purchase” that may never happen.
  • Learning from asking great questions will help generate the big sale as well as eliminate Black Hole Prospects.

Sources and Additional Articles

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