Talking with an inside sales representative (tele-sales, inside sales, tele-marketer, et al) from one of our clients, I was asked about responding to questions about availability and pricing on inbound customer/prospect phone calls. It is something that happens daily to both inside and outside sales people and usually not given a lot of thought. However, it is a perfect opportunity that will allow you to establish a "difference" between you and your competitors and leave the impression of both professionalism and caring. It is a question/situation that you need to prepare for that can have great impact on your business.
Often, in your haste to "respond", you give your customer/prospect the impression that you are only interested in answering a question, rather than really trying to find out what it is that they need. Often, by just answering the "literal" question you end up not attending to the underlying problems that have driven the request in the first place. Remember, questions are always asked for a reason and real sales "professionals" always try to find out what the reason is. It is a great example of the difference between an implied need and a hidden one.
So, when that next call comes in for pricing or availability try responding with one of the following reflectors;
"While I'm looking it up... what are youcurrently using?"
"I'll be happy to check... is this a product you are currently using?"
"What are you currently using?"
"How are you doing it now?"
"There are some options, do you mind if I ask you a few questions about what you're using now?"
"Who do you normally call for these products?"
"Are you having a problem with your current source of supply?"
I know, I know, you already know the price and you don't have to look it up! But, keep in mind that by asking a few simple questions you might get some additional information that will allow you to help them more and really add value to the transaction. It's that type of value that will keep them coming back and create a difference between you and your competition!
Action Step: Practice using some of these reflectors and don't be in such a hurry to just "answer the question!" Sometimes the simplest strategies are the best!