10 years ago
January 7, 2015

How to Answer Tough Sales Questions

Here are a few tips and methods for taking on the tough questions and delivering answers that satisfy customers.

Rhys Metler

In sales, there are always going to be rough questions to get through, sales questions you dread hearing from the moment a conversation starts until the moment it ends. Confidently tackling these sales questions when they arise marks one of the differences between a good salesperson and a great one. Let’s discuss a few tips and methods for taking on the tough questions and delivering answers that satisfy:

Know What The ‘Tough Sales Questions’ Are

The better you understand what you are selling and whom you are selling to, the less likely you are to be broadsided by a question you don’t know how to handle. By familiarizing yourself with the product and customer base and figuring out the sales questions to come well in advance, you can put yourself in a much better position to navigate stickier situations.

With proper knowledge, some of the ‘difficult sales questions’ you worry about may cease to be weaknesses in your sales pitch-they may even become strong points!

Stay Calm

Tough sales questions can shake the staunchest sales rep, but you can’t let it get to you and you certainly can’t let it show. Understand that sometimes, a question has a hostile agenda behind it. Maybe the customer thinks they know something that will make you look bad, maybe they’re just trying to shake you to get at the truth of the situation-they might, conceivably, not even be a real customer. Maybe your boss hired a firm to take a look at the sales team, maybe a consumer affairs firm wants to shake something interesting loose.

None of that matters, though. Analyze the sales questions and move forward calmly; keep the conversation on a positive note and you might change a mind and take home a sale.

Don’t Evade or Deflect

If a customer has asked you tough sales questions, you can safely assume a degree of savvy-that means that even if you have the ethics of a hungry shark, deflection or dishonestly makes for an incredibly stupid move. Your long rambling not-answer will bite you; lies will bite you harder.

A long tangential speech in response to straightforward sales questions doesn’t just give away your weakness; it puts the client off you, your product, and your company.

Engage Problems Directly, Honestly, and Respectfully

When confronted with difficult sales questions take your time and be thoughtful. Make sure you understand what the consumer has asked, asking your own clarifying questions if necessary. Think about what the question asker wants to learn with their question-the same sales questions can have different ‘ideal answers’ depending on who does the asking, focusing on disparate areas like day-to-day use or expected ROIs.

If the question has only awkward answers, be honest and helpful. Perhaps your product can only do most of what a customer wants; if you understand this issue, talk to them about the problem, about why it exists, and about possible solutions for their particular situation.

Sometimes none of this will help, but you need to remember that earlier call to Stay Calm. Losing your cool or your temper, even subtly, will spell the end of at least the sale in front of you. If a consumer likes you, they will choose to buy from your company over the competition even if you don’t offer a flawless solution to their immediate problem-remember this and make that connection!

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.