Harvey MacKay, author of “How to Swim with the Sharks without Getting Eaten Alive” has all his salespeople fill out a questionaire about their clients. It’s 66 things he feels is essential to know, in order to service the needs of his clients.
Granted, these are not questions his salespeople ask all at once; it takes time and a relationship to learn these crucial elements, but he feels that if a salesperson attempts to know these things about his/her client, then the relationship between them becomes more than salesprson/client it becomes friendship. The network the salesperson builds with this knowledge becomes strong and productive. Sales become a matter of helping a friend, not “grabbing the sale.”
The questionaire and other resources are at Harvey’s website.
But here’s the questionaire. What do YOU know about your clients?
It’s critical to have information about your customer. Armed with the right knowledge, we can outsell, outmanage, outmotivate and outnegotiate our competitors. Knowing your customer means knowing what your customer really wants. Maybe it’s your product, but maybe there is something else, too: recognition, respect, reliability, service, friendship, help – things all of us care more about as human beings that we care about malls or envelopes. Once you attach your personality to the proposition, people start reacting to the personality, and stop reacting to the proposition.
Use this questionnaire to develop a profile of each customer. Some of your resources for the information might include secretaries, receptionists, suppliers, newspapers, assistants, trade publications, and the customer themselves. Look, listen, and learn all you can about the customer, both personally and professionally. You’ll find topics for opening conversations, which can open doors for you and your company.
2. Company name
5. Birth date:
6. Height (approx.)
7. High school
8. College honors
9. College fraternity/sorority
10. College extracurricular activities
11. If customer didn’t attend college, is he/she sensitive about it?
12. Military service
Attitude toward being in the service
13. Spouse’s name and occupation
14. Spouse’s education
15. Spouse’s interests
17. Children; if any. Names and ages
18. Children’s education
19. Children’s interests (hobbies, problems, etc.)
20. Previous employment: (most recent first)
21. Previous titles at present company
22. “Status” symbols in office
24. Offices held or honors
25. What business relationship does he/she have with others in our company?
26. Who are they?
27. Is it a good relationship? Why?
28. What other people in our company know the customer?
29. Type of connection
Nature of relationship
30. What do you feel is his/her long-range business objective?
31. What do you feel is his/her immediate business objective?
32. What do you think is of greatest concern to the customer at this time–the welfare of the company or his/her own personal welfare?
33. Does the customer think of the present or the future?
34. Clubs, fraternal associations or service clubs (masons, Kiwanis, etc.)
35. Politically active?
Important to customer?
36. Active in community? How?
38. Highly confidential/sensitive items not to be discussed with customer (i.e.: Divorce, AA member, etc.)
39. On what subjects (outside of business) does the customer have strong feelings?
40. Medical history (current condition of health)
41. Does customer drink? If yes, what and how much?
42. If no, is customer offended by others drinking?
43. Does customer smoke? If no, object to others?
44. Favorite places for lunch?
45. Favorite items on menu
46. Does customer object to having anyone buy his/her meal?
47. Hobbies and recreational interests
48. Vacation habits
49. Spectator sports interest: sports and teams
50. What kind of car(s)
51. Conversational interests
52. Whom does the customer seem anxious to impress?
53. How does he/she want to be seen by those people?
54. What adjectives would you use to describe the customer?
55. What is he/she most proud of having achieved?
56. What do you feel is the customer’s long-range, personal objective?
57. What do you feel is the customer’s immediate personal goal?
The Customer and You
58. What moral or ethical considerations are involved when you work with this customer?
59. Does the customer feel any obligation to you, your company or your competition? If so, what?
60. Does the proposal you plan to make to him/her require the customer to change a habit or take an action that is contrary to custom?
61. Is he/she primarily concerned about the opinion of others?
62. Is he/she very self-centered?
63. What are the key problems as the customer sees them?
64. What are the priorities of the customer’s management?
65. Can you help with these problems?
66. Does your competitor have better answers to the above questions than you have?
(Attach pages for additional notes if necessary)