Tag Archives: sales techniques

Top Sales Questions – Shelle’s Top Tips – Shelle Rose Charvet

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If you’re a salesperson, there are five questions that will let you know exactly what your customer wants, what they don’t want, and how to propose and position what it is you have to offer.

If you’re not a salesperson these questions will be useful every time you really need to understand what’s important to someone.

So here they are.

Questions #1 & 2 – What Do You Want? and What’s Important To You?

Many salespeople just forget to ask these questions.  A while ago, I went to buy a new luxury car. I decided to abandon my old mommy-mobile and get a new car for me. My kids were grown up.  It’s my turn for a beautiful luxury car.  We went to seven dealerships.

Out of those seven dealerships only one salesperson said, “Shelle, what do you want? What’s important to you about this car?” How are you going to position anything to me or show me a car, for example, if you don’t know that one of the things that’s important to me is that when I drive my new luxury car up to my prospective client’s place of business that they’d be impressed by my new car.

Now, I know that sounds superficial but that’s one of the things that was important to me.

I felt a little bit sorry for one of the younger salespersons and I said to him, “You didn’t ask me what was important to me.” Okay, he got a little defensive. I would have gotten defensive too. He said, “Well, I tried to find it out in the conversation. I think I did okay.” I said, “Oh, really? So what do I want? What’s important to me?” and he didn’t know.

Now, all of those salespeople asked me, “What car are you presently driving?” I said, “I don’t want to talk about it.” So it’s hidden in the back somewhere.

Write down what they say because the words the customer uses are the words that have a resonance for them.

If you want more information on Top Sales Questions and how to use them, check out my
Sales Booster Package – Increase Sales, Marketing & Customer Retention »

Question #3: Why Is That Important?

 Here what we’re trying to find out is one of the important motivations for you. Is the person trying to achieve or gain something from that or are they trying to prevent or solve a problem?

So if you say, “Shelle, why is it important for you to impress your customers?” I might say, “Because I want to feel successful” or “Because I want to look successful.” Those are things I want to gain. The Toward trigger.

Or I might say, “Well, I don’t want to look like I’m not successful,” and that would be moving Away From, and you may have heard me say this before, the trigger that’s moving away from what I don’t want.

This gives you an indication of how to speak to your customer. Either you show them what they’ll gain, this will enable you to look more successful with your customers, or what they’re trying to avoid. This way you won’t look like you’re unsuccessful with your customers.

Question #4 – How Will You Know if You’ve Made The Right Decision?

 “Excellent question,” you say.  With this question you’re trying to find out does the person decide for themselves, by their own criteria and their own judgments and we call that Internal or did they decide based on outside criteria or outside influences?  

“So Shelle, how will you know you’ve made the right decision about your car?” Shelle might say, “When it feels good. When I’m behind the wheel and I love it.” Well, that’s clearly Internal. So although I did seem to have some external influences, I know I’ve made the right decision myself.

Now, I could have answered the question, “Shelle, how will you know if you’ve made the right decision?” by saying, “When all those people I’m driving by smile at me and look like they’re impressed.” That’s more External.

So this gives you more information about what’s going to help that person decide or buy.

Question #5 – Why Did You Choose To Look For A Car Now?

The question, “Why did you choose..?” is going to give you two kinds of answers.

If the person gives you a list of reasons: an old car was rotten; I want a new car; I want something that fits me; as a salesperson you need to talk to them about all of the options that the car you are selling comes with.

If they don’t tell you why but instead they tell you the story of how it happened that they ended up needing a car, so for example, they’ll say, “Well, my old car broke down for the last time and it was going to cost a lot of money to fix it. So then I realized it probably wasn’t worth my while to fix it so I ended up having to look for a new car.” If they give you one of these stories that has all these events in it, they’re not so interested in all of the options with the car. They want to know how does it work and what do you have to do to buy it, what are the steps in the buying process.

So those are the top sales questions. What do you want? What’s important to you? Why is that important? How you know you made the right decision? And why did you choose to look for or to search for this thing now?

If you want more information on Top Sales Questions and how to use them, check out my
Sales Booster Package – Increase Sales, Marketing & Customer Retention »

For more “Shelle’s Top Tips” visit
http://www.ShellesTopTips.com »

I’d love to hear your feedback.  How was this article useful to you?  You can leave a comment below or message me directly at [email protected]

Hope to hear from you.


Dealing with Upset Customers

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It’s really important to know how to calm down your customer quickly, get to the root of their problem, solve it, and nourish the relationship for next time.

If you’ve had a chance to look at my book, The Customer is Bothering Me, you’ll get this all laid out for you, but there’s four key steps.

1)     Treat the Emotion First
Most people cannot do these two things at the same time; they can’t be upset and be logical. If you’ve got a customer that’s upset and you try immediately to solve their problem, they probably won’t co-operate because they’re busy being upset and they need you to understand that. So treat the emotion first.

The key is to meet your customer where he or she is. My strategy may seem a little silly because most people are taught to stay calm. But if you think about it, when you are upset about something and the person you are speaking to stays calm, and doesn’t acknowledge either verbally or in their tone of voice that you are upset, it can feel like they are not really hearing you.

Instead, I suggest that when your customer becomes upset about something and they raise their tone that you raise your tone to almost the same level, but you say something helpful and we call that getting upset on behalf of your customer.

This is not the same as yelling at your customer. Step number one is to get upset on behalf of your customer, show them that you are surprised and upset with them. If you don’t sound like you’re surprised when they are upset, your customer may believe that this problem is normal, you don’t care, this happens all the time and your whole company doesn’t care about what happens. Remember, everything you do determines what your customer believes about your whole company. So for step one, treat the emotion first.

Click here to find out more about how to match your customer’s tone, and what kinds of things you can say that will be helpful.

2)    Clarify What the Customer Actually Wants and Take Action

Whether or not you agree that it’s a problem, if the customer thinks it is a problem, we need to sort out what it is they need.  You can suggest two options here that will solve their problem. In my book, The Customer is Bothering Me, there is more information on exactly the wording to use with upset customers.

It is important to make a suggestion at this point, as if you ask the customer “How would you like me to fix this?”, they may become angry again since they will be expecting you to be the expert and to know what to do to fix the issue. So step two, clarify what the customer wants and take action.

3)    Make Amends

Many people don’t think about this, but if your customer is upset, to him or her it is as if they have been hurt. So our third step is to make it up to them. It is not enough simply to say, “Well I’m sorry”. Remember when you were a child and your parents told you to say you’re sorry, your siblings knew you weren’t really sorry. Your upset customers know you are not really sorry either. So what can you do to make amends? Does your company have a policy so that the person actually dealing with the upset customers can make amends right on the stop without having to ask for permission?  So step three, make amends.

4)     Nourish the Relationship for the Future
Make sure that you communicate to your customer so that whenever they contact your company again for any reason, that you have set them up for a positive experience. You can do that by saying, “Listen, any one of my colleagues will help you find what you want and if there are ever any issues, we’ll do whatever it takes do to solve it.  We are your personal fix-it people”.  Make sure they can see a picture in their mind’s eye of how it will be next time, (such as “fix-it people”) That’s how to nourish the relationship for next time.

If you want more information on strategies for dealing with customers and creating a great customer experience, check out my book, The Customer is Bothering Me, available as an EBook or available in paperback form.

Hope you enjoyed this. Let me know if you got any great ideas from Shelle’s Top Tips.


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Shelle’s new LAB Profile Technology & innovation competition for Libretta

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As you may know, in 2010 with my partner Micha, we created a techie company called Weongozi. Our first product was HusbandMotivator(tm), the LAB Profile® iPhone app.

We have spent the last year developing an advanced communication email tool using the LAB Profile®, in partnership with the German Institute for Artificial Intelligence.  

Our new email tool is called Libretta(tm). It uses Artificial Intelligence to identify what is motivating people by analysing what they write and it gives guidance on the language to use in response. While you probably don’t need it for everyday emails, people are using Libretta to read the mind of their customers, colleagues or anyone else for high-stakes correspondence.  

It’s now available without cost as we are beta testing it. If you have Outlook 2007 or 2010 for Windows, I would love you to try Libretta and let me know what you think. You can download it at www.libretta.com 

Innovation Competition – top ten finalist!

We entered our new email tool Libretta(tm) into a local innovation competition called Lion’s Lair and have made it to the top ten finalists, competing for a prize worth $100,000. Next week I go before the Lions and will be filmed making our pitch and being interrogated by the Lions. This innovation startup is a whole new world for me and it is all very exciting. I am deep in preparation and practice mode! 

You can see my quick pitch at www.pitch-it.ca as well as the other finalists. Check it out and please give me your feedback.

The local CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) produced a profile on me and our company with a short video that you might like. In it Libretta(tm) reveals what was so inspirational from Jack Layton’s last letter to Canadians. (He was a much loved Canadian politician who died in 2011.) 

Then the national CBC picked up the story! You can see the profile and video at: 


Isn’t this cool?  



How to be Credible – Shelle’s Top Tips

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I created this blog while in San Francisco at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Health Annual Conference. That’s the conference for NLP and Health. It’s been fantastic. 

Here is something that I do not recommend  if you want people to believe what you have to say: being too enthusiastic. When you are too enthusiastic, some people will believe that you are telling them what to think. 

“You’ve got to see this movie, you’ll love it!” That sounds like you are deciding for someone whether or not they will love it. If you want to become more credible, tone down the enthusiasm a little bit.


Look and sound confident, as if you believe what you’re saying, but use the “Language of Suggestion”. You could say something such as, “What do you think?” or “In my opinion” or “In my experience.”

 “In my experience” is a great phrase for establishing credibility. Try “In my experience, I find… What do you think?”

If a person uses too many statements of fact, the listener may feel like they are being talked at or told what to do.  That is another hint – I suggest avoiding “should”, “you must” and “here’s what you’ve got to do.” Instead, you may wish to say “It seems to me that…”

If you make a suggestion and invite the other person to think about it. Those are great ways for establishing credibility.

Here is one more way to help you to establish credibility.  Douglas Adams, the wonderful author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, in the last book that was removed from his hard drive after his death, said that one can establish credibility by saying, “It turns out.” “Establishing credibility seems to be hard, but it turns out that if you know what you’re doing, it’s pretty easy.”

Those three little words seem to give some kind of credence to your ideas.

Again, the tips on how to be credible: 

  • tone down the enthusiasm,
  • look and sound confident but use the Language of Suggestion
  • invite people to decide for themselves,
  • use phrases such as this “it turns out, in my experience.”

If you want a tried and true process for increasing your credibility, check out my MP3 “Presenting Ideas to Skeptical People”. It’s only $9.97 and could give you the edge next time you need to be convincing. Click here.

Check out  www.ShellesTopTips.com if you would like some tips on communicating and solving some of the problems.

If you are interested in booking me (Shelle Rose Charvet) for a presentation, keynote or workshop contact me at [email protected].  Please visit my speaking page too.

Sales in the New Reality – Shelle’s Top Tips

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Things are not the way they were before. Since 2008 with the financial crash that went around the world, we’ve had disaster after disaster; and nothing will ever Continue reading

Ending a Sales Presentation – Shelle’s Top Tips

You’ve just done a marvelous presentation about your products or your services; you’ve gotten a raving applause and then Continue reading

Retail IS Different

I was just speaking to someone today who wants to sell over a million dollars in the next year of a well-known brand of furniture. She knows it can be done – a sales person in my area has done  it. She knows retail is different than selling services and products in other environments. She is right!

Don’t you hate it when you go into a store and the sales people start heading your way. How often have you had the very short “Can I help you?” “No, I’m just looking,” conversation? Continue reading