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In a world of evolution, what questions should salespeople start asking?

Let your curiosity challenge thinking, moving your conversation from 'show up and throw up' to a deep understanding that can influence change.

I recently attended a sales team meeting with a client, we spent some time exploring the changing dynamics of sales teams in response to evolving industries, customer needs, and changing consumer behaviour. Part of our discussion centred around the Model, Action, and Outcome principal, highlighting the importance of adapting your focus. If the 'outcomes' you want are not achieved, focusing on the 'actions' won't necessarily yield an improved outcome if the 'model' of the world has fundamentally changed.

These changes can be temporary or last forever based on events and behaviour. Considering the customer's perspective and opinion is crucial as well as being able to overlay any data insights. Understanding their world, helping them navigate uncertainty, and focusing on controllable factors will shine a light on the way forward. 

What questions should salespeople be asking?

The PESTEL model is used to analyse and understand the external macro-environmental factors that can impact an organisation. PESTEL stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal factors. This questioning framework helps you understand the various external influences your client, prospect and other the decision-makers are facing in their business & operations, guiding strategic planning and risk management. Each letter in PESTEL represents a category of factors that may influence an organisation, and questioning within these categories can reveal critical insights. Let's break down each component:



Questions to Ask:

  • What is the stability of the political environment?

  • How do government policies and regulations affect your industry?

  • Are there political factors that could impact your business operations, such as changes in leadership or government stability? 


Questions to Ask:

  • What is the current state of the economy, and how might it affect your business?

  • How do inflation, interest rates, and exchange rates impact your financial performance?

  • Are there economic trends that could influence consumer spending or industry growth? 


Questions to Ask:

  • What are the demographic trends affecting your target market?

  • How are cultural and social attitudes evolving, and what impact might they have on your products or services?

  • Are there changes in lifestyle or consumer behaviour that need to considered? 


Questions to Ask:

  • What technological innovations are relevant to your industry?

  • How can emerging technologies impact your operations and product/service offerings?

  • Are there advancements that might give you a competitive advantage or pose a threat? 


Questions to Ask:

  • How do environmental factors, such as climate change or sustainability concerns, affect your industry?

  • Are there regulations or consumer expectations related to environmental responsibility that need to be addressed?

  • What are the environmental implications of your supply chain and operations? 


Questions to Ask:

  • What are the current and potential future legal regulations affecting our business?

  • Are there compliance issues or legal risks that need to be considered?

  • How might changes in legislation impact your industry or market?

By systematically exploring these PESTEL factors and asking relevant questions, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the external environment in which they operate by identifying opportunities and threats in the external environment.

Aligning your Sales team challenges of Winning, Retaining, and Growing with the customer's needs at the centre is key to staying on track. Financial rewards, such as minimising losses or incentivising product adoption, can be immediate, depending on the customer's specific challenges. 

In summary, when thinking about what questions should salespeople be asking....Let your curiosity challenge thinking, shift from a scattergun approach to a sniper's focus in your questioning. A precision shot, getting through to a deep understanding that can influence change. 

Jason Bushby

Director @ | Helping people build great teams

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