The questions that matter most in a sales presentation.

When you’re giving your sales presentation, do you really know what the customer is thinking or what they’re asking themselves as you’re presenting?

I doubt it. You’re too busy trying to sell.

Shake the hand. Smile the smile. Show the slides. Talk the talk. Do the demo. Ask the superficial questions. Try the close. Try to overcome, “the price is too high.” Propose the proposal. Do the sales dance.

Meanwhile the customer is thinking. He or she is asking themself questions about the validity of your product and your offer. They’re thinking about how your stuff might fit into their company. And while you’re talking they may be Googling.

While you are trying to prove a point, they are trying to verify your information. And in these times, they can do it in a nanosecond. And you can’t stop them.

While you’re talking, they may be wondering if you have a Twitter account. So they do a quick search and find out that you do not. What’s that about? How validating is that? If they ask you about it, you’ll just brush it off. Suppose the customer is exceptionally Twitter active? How does that make you look?

That’s a small ‘tip of the iceberg’ example of the thoughts that differentiate your sales presentation from the customer’s decision to buy. But let me take it deeper.

All customers, not just the decision maker, have a buying process. It’s a strategy and a process by which they make a purchase. And that purchase is based around the trust, safety, and comfort your customer feels when buying something from you.

In order to gain that trust, and that feeling of safety, they asked themselves a bunch of questions without ever saying a word. You answer those questions by the words you speak. Your job as a master salesperson is to answer those silent questions in a manner that drives the customer to say, “I’ll take it!”

The following list of questions is exactly what goes through the mind of a prospective customer during your presentation. The list is long, and every customer may not ask themselves every one of these questions, but since you don’t know specifically which ones they are going to ask themselves, you better be prepared with answers to all of them.

Here are the questions the prospective customer is asking:

  • What do you offer?
  • What do you offer that no one else has?
  • What do you offer of value?
  • How does your product compare to others I have seen?
  • Does it really fill my need?
  • Can you deliver?
  • Is it real-world?
  • Will it work?
  • Will it work in our environment?
  • How will it impact our people?
  • How could it impact our success?
  • Will senior or executive management buy in?
  • Will my people use it?
  • How will we produce as a result of the purchase?
  • How will we profit as a result of the purchase?
  • How will it come together?
  • How do we buy it?
  • What’s the risk factor in buying?
  • Will you and your company keep its promises?
  • Do I trust you and the people I’m buying from, both as humans and their ability to deliver service after purchase?
  • Will you be my main contact after purchase or are you going to relegate me to ‘the service department?’
  • Do I believe you?
  • Do I have confidence in you?
  • Are you telling me the truth?
  • Do I have the trust and comfort to buy now?

HOLY COW! All that?
YES! All that and more!

This list of questions is by far the most comprehensive I have put together. They address both confidence in product and confidence in the salesperson.

The customer is seeking validation and wants to believe you. They need what you have and they’re going to buy what you offer. The only question is: From who? Depending on the answers to the above questions, they may not buy from you. OUCH!

Here are a few more thought-provoking challenges to help you understand the buying process:

1. The first sale that’s made is the salesperson. If the prospect doesn’t buy you, he’s not going to buy your product or service.
2. How’s your online reputation? What’s your Google ranking and reputation? NOT YOUR COMPANY. YOU!
3. What’s your social media reputation? Not Tweeting is a choice, but a poor one. How about LinkedIn? Do you have a business Facebook page?
4. Did you offer proof? Did you use ‘voice-of-customer’ as testimonial proof to your claims?
4.5 Does the buyer have enough peace of mind to purchase?

I have just given you a mind full of sales information, from the mind of the only person that matters in your sales conversations: the customer.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

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