During a sales training workshop I conducted recently, the term “investigate” kept cropping up. It started with a participant saying, “We need to investigate why they (the prospects) are saying that.”

If you have read my blog or articles for any length of time you know that I am a huge advocate of asking plenty of questions during the discovery phase of a sales conversation. Needless to say, I loved the use of that word!

Many salespeople think they are good investigators. However, the reality is that they often start their investigation only after a prospect expresses an objection. A true sales detective takes a different approach.

She asks high-value, tough and penetrating questions early in the conversation rather than waiting until her prospect resists or pushes back. A good sales investigator understands the importance of uncovering all the pertinent information that will influence the outcome of the sale before he pitches his product, service or solution. It’s a simple concept—at least in theory.

The challenge is that many salespeople have conditioned themselves to talk first and ask questions later. And breaking this habit can be difficult.

Here is a strategy that can help: Before your pitch your product, discuss your offering or present a solution, ask yourself, “Do I know enough about this person’s situation to offer a solution?” If you can answer yes to this question, you are ready to move forward. If your response is no, then it may be time to put on your detective’s cap and do some digging.

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Kelley Robertson helps sales professionals master their sales conversations so they can win more business at higher profits. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at http://www.Fearless-Selling.ca.