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I have been selling for nearly 20 years; however, I don’t consider myself a salesperson. I prefer to think of myself as a consultant. I believe that an excellent salesperson helps uncover needs and then shares solutions to those needs and problems. There are a couple of tools that are imperative to a good consultative salesperson’s toolbox: proper preparation and solid fact finding.
Know your subject.
A recent thread on Quora posed the question, “What is the single most illuminating question I can ask someone?” Jodi Kantor, a New York Times reporter and author of a book about the Obamas, chimed in that there is no “single most illuminating question.” According to Kantor, “To ask a really high-yielding question, you need to have done your homework.”
This is especially true when you’re talking to people who are used to being...