Necessities to Decision-Making – by Tom Hopkins

Before you can help a potential client make a decision about owning your product or service, you must have certain knowledge. That knowledge will give you power in the selling situation because knowledge is power but only when properly applied.

So, what knowledge is it that you need?

  1. You need knowledge about your product or service. How strong is your product knowledge? Can you answer any question that pops up during a client contact? Granted 80% of your clients will likely ask you the same questions about your product but what about that other 20%? Don’t you want to serve their needs as well? Get your product knowledge down. Never wing it with answers about your product or service.
  2. You need knowledge of your current inventory. You never know when a chance encounter will find you facing someone with a desire and the means to purchase multiple quantities of your product. How embarrassing would it be to make the sale, then have to tell them your product is on back order or that you don’t have enough in stock to fulfill their entire order?
  3. If your product is one that requires some folks to finance it over time, what type of financing is available? How many ways do you know of for them to afford and own your product today?
  4. Do you know if this person you’re investing your valuable time with is qualified to own your product? If not, here’s how to ask about it, in a polite, and non-threatening way: “John, who other than yourself might be involved in making a final decision?” “Mary, are there any buying decisions for which you like to consult with someone else?”
  5. Is this person ready, able and willing to make a decision today? Too many salespeople waste time presenting to people who have no intention of owning their products or at the very least no intention of owning today. They are just “researching” the product or “interested” in it. Consider working this question into your conversation, “If this product is right for your needs, how soon do you expect to make a buying decision?”  Or, “How urgent is your need to get this product on your shelves?” Get the answer to this question early in your client meetings and you’ll have the knowledge you need to maximize your efforts with them.


If you don’t have this knowledge, you don’t have what’s necessary to close a sale. This knowledge will indicate to you how to work with each and every potential client.