Blog | April 3, 2023

Accelerate Your Sales Process By Learning, Helping & Understanding


By Perry Rearick, Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer


My friend, Kevin Schultz, is a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness. When he meets with a client for the first time, most of the one-hour session is a conversation while comfortably sitting at a table. No workout! He doesn’t walk them around the fitness center showing them all the impressive equipment or pitching them about the new crossfit center.

Rather, he spends most of the time asking questions. What are you currently doing for exercise? What kind of exercises do you like? Dislike? Are you experiencing any problems or health issues? There are a lot of follow-up questions too, all seeking to understand the client. Then he asks two important questions! What are your personal fitness goals? And why?

Cory Coleman is a Director of Strategic Partnerships at Life Science Connect (LSC). Simply put, LSC is a publisher and Cory’s clients are advertisers. But LSC offers innovative access to target audiences along with technology that measures results and supports sales follow-up.

Like Kevin, Cory spends a lot of time asking questions to understand his clients. I recall one particular meeting about 12 years ago. The client expected to be handed a media kit, with circulation stats and a rate card.

Instead, Cory began with a series of questions about their business. What goals do you have for your business? Why? What is your marketing communications currently doing to support those goals? Why? What is working especially well and why is it working? Did you note the “why” questions?

Both Cory and Kevin understand the value of asking “why” questions and it is because the answers reveal purpose, motivations, intent, and reasoning. When done with sincerity, they enable solution providers to offer helpful ideas that are aligned with what a client needs help with.

Slowing down a sales process to ask exploratory questions seems counterintuitive and is challenging for salespeople who are encouraged to move quickly, pitch strengths, and produce opportunities to close. But it is the quickest way to lasting business relationships because it enables the seller to build trust, establish a helping rapport, and operate with a deep understanding of the client and what motivates them.

At a time of year when the New Year’s resolution crowd is no longer in the gym, Kevin is still growing the number of clients he has. Twelve years after that memorable meeting Cory had, the client is still working with him.

This week, consider what you do when meeting a client for the first time or when trying to follow-up with a prospect. Is it more about you or them, and how can you change that by asking the right questions?

I hope you have a great week!