Starting on the right note and choosing the right topic to initiate a conversation with your client enables you to gather crucial information that is essential to closing the sale.

However, if you don’t know what information you need, the exchange is as good as random small talk.

During the conversation with your client, there are three pieces of information you need to pick up that will allow you to preempt and handle potential objections that might surface at a later stage and help you close the deal.

The cost of not having this information is too high, and will deny you potential sales. The crucial points are:


Hot buttons

Most salesmen know that all clients have hot buttons, something that elicits a strong emotional response or reaction. But pressing a hot button alone will not bring you closer to clinching the deal.

It merely indicates that your client has a concern you can address or a soft spot you should explore further. It is a doorway to closing the deal, but the corridor to reach the treasure trove is long and winding.

The more accurate the hot button you discover, the better your view of the full picture. Only then will you know where your client is coming from and how you can fulfil his needs and tend to his concerns.


Values and beliefs

To effectively identify the values and beliefs of your client, you first need to understand the difference between these two often-confused terms.

Beliefs are concepts and assumptions that we hold to be true, usually without the need to have actual proof or evidence. Values are ideas that we deem important to us. They govern the way we interact, behave and communicate with others. Together, they determine our attitudes and opinions.

When it comes to sales, every client has a set of values and beliefs etched into his core. A rule of thumb to remember is: never go against your clients’ values and beliefs. Your objective is to be aware of them, and ensure that your product or service will not contradict them. In the event that your opinions and schools of thought conflict with those of your clients, simply agree to disagree.


Decision making

The last piece of information that can strongly enhance your closing is your client’s decision-making process. If you are able to recognise hidden concerns that might be holding him back, you will be in a better position to address them. In general, there are two sets of ideologies that will affect how your client makes decisions:

•   The trade-off between cost and value. If your client can see the value of what you offer, he will not mind the cost and the sale will take place. If he only looks at the cost, he will never appreciate your product’s value.

•   The motivation principle. Your client may be motivated to avoid pain or to seek pleasure. Pain is often associated with loss, and pleasure with gain. The inclination to avoid pain is often stronger than that of seeking pleasure, and unless your client’s concerns involving pain are addressed, it is difficult to swing him towards a purchase that sells pleasure.


Article by Jacky Chua, the author of SOLD: Everything You Need to Know About Selling Anything. Currently with Richard Gavriel Speaker Management, Jacky can be contacted via e-mail at