Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Are Buyers Liars? - Ask the Right Sales Questions

by Matt Bertuzzi on Wed, Sep 10, 2008

In my role as Marketing Manager, I buy services/technology/etc. for our inside sales consulting company. So I am a buyer, but does that mean by definition I am a liar?

Full disclosure I have been in Sales as well. And even blamed an occasional slipped close date on a "buyer-liar".

Here's a real world buying situation: I am currently looking at a new service. The vendor's Sales Guy has been great to work with, it's relatively cheap and easy to measure ROI. In short, I am very excited and have decided to buy.

But - I didn't buy in July, or in August. I don't know if I will be buying in September. Am I just reinforcing the idea that "buyers are liars?" 

 I don't think so. At any point during this sales process, I could have been asked some tough (and some less tough) questions to better gauge the opportunity:

  • Is this project one of your top 3 initiativesfor this quarter?
    Me: "No."
    This is a great chance for a follow up question from the Sales Guy. "When will it be?" or "Where does this project rank today?"

  • When are you looking to make a purchasing decision? When will you be implementing?
    : "The decision is made. Implementation will be next quarter."
    Note: to me as a buyer "decision" doesn't mean "ink".

  • What would you like to see happen as a next step?
    Me: "Not a thing. I have all the information I need. Once I can give this project proper attention, I will pull the trigger."

  • If you were me, would you forecast this business this month?
    "Definitely not this month and probably not until next quarter."

By asking these questions, the Sales Guy would have a much clearer idea of my needs, objectives & timeframe. While I am guilty of not volunteering everything, proper forecasting is his job, not mine.

Check out this post from Trish if you want to see some more Great Sales Questions. Asking questions like these can make the sales process work better for you (the Sales Guy) and me (the Buyer).

So what do you think? Am I a "buyer-liar" or are there some questions that have to be asked to bring out the full picture?

Topics: sales process, sales tips, sales techniques

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