4 Customer Questions to prepare for great sales conversation

To sell is to be able to answer the following 4 questions the customer has in their mind. These are not earth-shattering questions but what you answer and the way you answer them hold the answer to whether you make a great sales conversation and make the sale.

  1. Why?
  2. Why You?
  3. Why You Now?
  4. Why You Now at this price?

Let’s dig deeper into them.

Why do I need this product or service that you are selling?

Whether you have reached the customers through outbound reach or they have reached out to you through inbound channels this question needs to be answered first. The need needs to be established very early in the process. If not done so, the process may take its course but both parties would be left without any gains at the end of it.

The customer may or not may be aware of whether they need it in the first place. Before presenting the solution, it is very important to lay bare the problems and discuss their impact.

Let me take an example of my own company’s software solution. We sell B2B software to help and manage statutory and regulatory compliances of organizations. Before I present the solution, I need to get deep into the challenges currently being faced by the companies. Are they paying penalties or interest payments due to non-compliance? How serious is the risk of license cancellation and imprisonment to the senior management? How much time and resources are spent on manual data entry and follow-ups by the team members? If the negative impact of the non-compliance is not significant enough for the customer, the chances of the customer buying from you are significantly less.

As a salesperson, we should be in a position to establish that if you use our product or service you will be generating x amount of extra revenue or saving y amount of cash, or minimizing z amount of risk. The dollar value of the problem being solved should be 10x (times) the cost of the product. Start with the Why?

Why should I buy from you and not from somebody else?

This question will and should arise only after the Why is answered. This is a tougher question to answer. Unlike in olden times, the information disparity has tilted in the favor of the customers. Earlier the salesman had the product and the market knowledge but with the internet, the customers have become more informed and hence smarter. It has been reported that the customers connect with the salesman after they have already done 67% of their research. They know what they are looking for, what is available in the market, and what is the price of different solutions available.

As a salesperson, we might have gone through competitor analysis reports but it is never going to be as up-to-date as what information the customer may be having. The customer can just pick up the phone and ask any relevant question to the different vendors, a luxury not be available to the salesperson. Despite this disparity, the salesperson must keep a close eye on its competitors.

Another thing a salesperson can do is to differentiate itself better. They can let the customer know why they are ‘different’ and what makes their customers loyal to them. Share information and success stories relevant to the customer. They can also win the trust of the customers gradually, with the full intention of maintaining it, and assure them that they are looking at the long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.

One important thing to keep in mind is not to bad-mouth the competitor. It is ok to differentiate your product and sell your unique selling point (USP).

Why should I buy from you now?

Ok now that you have established that the customer needs your product or service and that you are the right person to help them with it, their next concern would be why should I buy it now.

There are various excuses you are likely to face.

  1. Let me think about it.
  2. The management will make a decision.
  3. It’s not a priority now.

If the customer is replying on these lines then the chances are that the salesperson has failed to establish the need clearly and create urgency. They did not go deep enough into the first question of Why they need your product in the first place. It could also be, in some rare cases, that the product does not solve a significant problem. We will assume that this is not the case.

Now is the question of time. Coming back to my example, I would ask if the customer ( a company in this case) has paid any fine? What was the total amount paid? Did they know the total risk of penalties due to non-compliance for their organization? If the savings is greater than the cost of the software solution then the software pays for itself. The skill is in getting to that cost-saving or the additional revenue number and comparing it to the price of the software.

Buyers are most likely to avoid the pain of negative impact rather than improve an existing system. The thought is “Why mend if it ain’t broke?”. It helps them save money and effort. An effective salesman is a person who is highlighting the pitfalls of not buying now and nudging the prospect to make a decision.

Why should I buy from you now at this price?

If the sales conversation has reached this stage, price is usually not an issue. In B2B sales, multiple quotes are requested from different vendors which are analyzed, discussed, and then decided. This is again a situation where the salesperson will be dealing with lesser information than the customer. Ethically they are not allowed to share quotes from other vendors, so it is really about differentiating yourself and showing value and success stories.

The important thing to note is that if they are talking to you means they are still giving you a chance to improve your proposal or show them more value. The salesperson needs to grab this opportunity by focusing more on value and less on price. If the product is good and the first 3 questions have been answered correctly then the price will be negotiated with a win-win mindset.


As you may have noticed the questions are basic and are a part of any sales conversation. The trick is in answering them in a manner that positively impacts the customers into deciding in your favor. A lot of the sales conversation will happen non verbally. The salesperson needs to be confident about their product, company, and themselves and treat the customer as an equal (not superior). The more such situations the salesperson faces the better they get at answering these questions. The 4 customer questions framework is a good way to have a great sales conversation.

Do you prepare for any other question that you frequently encounter in your sales conversations? Do share.

Also if you want to learn How to qualify leads for higher sales then click on the link and don’t forget to leave your questions and comments.

My top 5 reasons for buying Bitcoin


“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason but by the heart.” – Blaise Pascal

My heart wanted to own Bitcoin and then my mind found reasons why I would be right in doing so.

So allow me to present to you my top 5 reasons why I ended up buying some Bitcoin even though it is a highly volatile asset/currency, not authorized by any government body (not legally banned either), and intangible (you cannot touch it as it is just a ledger entry on a set of computers).

Reason 1: Curiosity and Learning

My interest in Bitcoin was piqued a few months back when Elon Musk started making news in this space by allowing Bitcoin for Tesla purchase and then started dipping his toes in the Dogecoin crypto. I wondered if Bitcoin was that big a deal. I had to dig deeper.

I started with the Youtube video and online articles. The AI behind these apps helped by feeding me more articles with a more diversified point of view which expanded my learning in the process. I could understand the insecurities of the governments, the faith of the technocrats, and the mistrust of the public in general.

The world’s second-oldest profession (finance) was undergoing another tectonic shift and I wanted my knowledge to be a little better than that of a layman.

Reason 2: Technology behind the application

I followed the videos and articles with a book called Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott. The book is a flag bearer of the underlying technology of Bitcoin which is Blockchain. It was not easy to understand the application without understanding the need which gave rise to the application and this is where the book came in handy.

Bitcoin is just one of the applications of the underlying technology called Blockchain. Ethereum which is another blockchain with its crypto currency is developing other applications called Dapps.

According to the book if the first wave of the internet-enabled the exchange of information the second wave of the internet lead by technologies like blockchain will enable the exchange of value on the internet. Just like you could exchange emails, pics, and information in the first wave, the next wave will allow you to transfer money, property, and assets without worrying about the intermediaries like government or banks.

Reason 3: Didn’t want to miss the bus

Well actually, I have already missed the bus. The first bus left somewhere in 2007 when Bitcoin was released. I just don’t want to be on the last bus. The Bitcoin value has appreciated from nothing to Rs 26 lacs approximately and it is expected to grow even faster as the word spreads and the adoption increases.

Yes, it is a highly volatile and risky asset. Yes, it doesn’t have the approval of government bodies. And yes there is nobody to watch your back as a regulator. But these are the exact reasons why it is a unique and high-risk high-return business.

My strategy which is adapted from what I learned online from really smart people like Elon Musk and Michael Saylor is to invest only that much money which you can afford to lose. Never make it more than 2-5% of your portfolio and sit tight. Period.

Reason 4: Community of shared beliefs

Do we trust people or machines? Do we trust banks with their greedy promoters who are ready to bet your life savings on risky loans? In poor and underdeveloped countries would the average Joe trust his government with his money, the government which will devalue the lifetime savings by printing an obscene amount of money at the drop of a hat?

I believe the value of money cannot be trusted by a single person or even a group of people. As long as these people are not God, they are bound to have biases and compulsions. Crypto currencies don’t. Why? Because they are computer codes on a machine and the Bitcoin supply is not controlled by one single person or even a group of people. It is fixed.

I also believe people should have the right to decide who they want to lend. Why would I give that authority to bankers? Well given a choice I would like to have partial if not complete control over who the money goes to. The subprime crisis and corruption in the banking industry have taught me that bankers cannot be blindly trusted with your money. Since Bitcoin can’t be “stolen” from you, why should I put the money in the bank, I wonder. Internet is going to be your new bank!!!

Reason 5: The Impact on the Future

When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s as a child, I remember using 5 paise coins to make purchases. Now there are Rs 10 coins sitting in my drawer which I haven’t touched for a couple of years. Why? Because I don’t need to. UPI and Digital wallets don’t require me to carry clunky coins in my pocket.

Fast forward 10 years from now or maybe more. International travel will not require you to carry any money at all. Bitcoin works seamlessly across borders and you don’t have to pay hefty commissions buying foreign currency.

A truly global currency is the only way to envision a global village and Bitcoin and Blockchain seem to be the key contenders towards achieving that dream.


The top 5 reasons I have mentioned above are highly personal opinions and not investment advice. There are several challenges facing Bitcoin and Blockchain as a technology and the world’s best minds are working on it. I would put my Bitcoin (read-money) on them to solve them as we move along.

Blockchain is a subject as vast as the Internet itself and we are just seeing the birth of the technology. I would recommend wait and watch strategy rather than jumping in head-on especially if you are thinking of putting your money in it.

If you have invested in any of the crypto currencies or have an opinion about them do share in the comments below. Also if you haven’t registered for the Newsletter, you can do so at the bottom of the home page of https://sanadsuman.com.

Forrester Report (Excerpt) : Death of a (B2B) Salesman

Death of a Salesman is a famous 1949 stage play written by Arthur Miller. The title has been partially used merely to create an impact and has got no relevance to the content of the report discussed here.

Death of a (B2B) Salesman is a famous report that was first published in 2015 by Forrester, a leading marketing research company. Since then it has been reviewed and discussed multiple times and tracked very closely even today.

Being a B2B Salesman myself, I was curious to study and understand it. I came across a half an hour audio discussing the report featuring Andy Hoar, Vice President, Principal Analyst in 2017. The report is particularly important in times in 2020-2021 because it brings the focus back on the role of B2B salesman in bigger scheme of ‘business’ things.

Following is a list of important points, according to me, from the half an hour audio interview

  • B2B Buyers are deciding how they want to interact with companies. They don’t want to be forced into a channel company is comfortable with. Term is called CONSUMERIZATION.
  • Norms that are prevalent in B2C are being expected in B2B space.
  • Increase in customers wanting to do their own research at their own pace online grew from 53% in 2015 to 68% in 2017. It doesn’t make sales rep irrelevant but only directs their profile to more value add tasks.
  • B2B buyers want easy getting-in and getting-out like B2C users
  • 2012 to 2020 will see ‘displacement’ of a million sales rep. (Assuming the speaker is talking about US alone). Number of ‘order takers’ will decrease but the number of consultants will increase.
  • Digital or omni channel strategy leads wider markets and higher customer satisfaction.
  • AI / ML will get better at suggestive selling. Amazon in 2006 got 35% of total revenue came from computer generated recommendations.

These are important pointers to keep in mind by both the businesses as well as the B2B salesman because the general direction of the trend suggested is correct. Businesses and individuals need to introspect, adapt and then apply these ideas for gaining strategic advantage.

You may also want to check the link to the Forrester Audio clip and my Youtube Vlog on the subject.

I would love hear your comments on the topic so please leave a comment below. Also if you haven’t registered for the Newsletter, you can do so at the bottom of the home page of https://sanadsuman.com.

How to negotiate to earn more


We all negotiate because we have to. There is no way out. Negotiation situations are wrapped in our daily mundane transactions and we might not be even aware of them like you asking for an extra discount on the clothes you are planning to buy or deciding on the color of the car with your wife. At the workplace, it could be asking for a few extra credit days or requesting the extension of a deadline. Whatever might be the situation, when we dig deep we find that there are plenty of such situations and that it might be a good idea to improve our negotiation skills.

The word negotiation rouses feelings of competition and threat. Our response is usually of fight or flight. It is said that you can never make money faster than negotiating. If that is true and if you are not doing it right it also means you are losing out on the money you could have saved or earned with good negotiation skills. So let us understand what the basics of this Art of Negotiations are.

What to expect in a negotiation?

1. Expect the unexpected. Every negotiation will be different. Be flexible.

2. Be kind to the people but be tough on the cause.

3. Always act and never react. Know your buttons so that they cannot be pushed.

Types of Negotiation

Collaborative: People with whom you will have multiple transactions in the future. For example your employer. You don’t want to burn bridges in your first review where you are seeking a promotion.

Confrontational: One-time transaction. For example with a property dealer for renting or buying your house. It is very unlikely that you will deal again with him but that is no reason to be rude or unfair with him.

Stage 1: Test Waters

Don’t Negotiate: Identify value proposition and share it. Leave it for the other party to decide.

Never argue early in the negotiation: It will make the other person defensive. Instead, agree with the other person. Use the feel, felt, and found formula. You tell them how you understand how they feel about the offer and that many have felt the same way. You also tell them that when you sit and discuss it with the other party, they have always found that you give the best value in the marketplace.

Never accept the first offer: Most likely the other person is holding back something more for later and you could miss that. This need not necessarily be in terms of money only. Always go through the process of negotiating as it makes the other party feel they have won something in the process. If the first offer was better than expected then you should always take the excuse of checking with the higher authority before accepting.

Be a reluctant buyer or a seller: Give the seller all the time to explain the offer before it is initially rejected and then say “you have already put in a lot of effort so what is the last price you are ready to give ?” The seller will normally surrender half their negotiating range. If you are a seller understand their need and pain areas. Show them value. Quote only when the buyer asks for it.

Never make the first offer. If you can, avoid it at all costs.

No free gifts: Make them pay in equal measure or earn it. Don’t even give free information or even co-operation. Today’s free gift is tomorrow’s starting point. Secondly, they will ask for an additional free gift in the next transaction.

Stage 2: Being in the thick of things

Watch the ‘Salami’ effect: Let us say you are selling a drawing for Rs 100. You tell the customer Rs 100 for the drawing another Rs 20 for the coloring and another Rs 5 for the delivery. When you give the breakup the customer might say leave the coloring and delivery as he will manage and will then start negotiating. The whole deal went down from Rs 125 to less than Rs 100. Quote Rs 125 and don’t negotiate and keep shut.

Never Make a Quick a deal: Every deal has a timescale and a tempo of its own. If the tempo has increased it could mean they have identified a mistake on your part or have identified an advantage which you might not be aware of and in both cases, they want to close the deal. You should then slow down the tempo and revisit the 3 TQs.

Never disclose the bottom line was: Bottom line is how far you could have got pushed in terms of price, credit period or services, etc. Never disclose this even if the other party is your best friend. If they find out then it would become win-lose for them.

Stage 3: The end game

Flinch to visually convey shock and surprise when the other party asks for a concession or a discount. Always react with shock and surprise that they would have the nerve to ask you for a concession.

Danger Point: The other side often makes a proposal to you that they really don’t expect you to agree to. When you don’t flinch, they start believing that they could get it from you. It makes them tougher negotiators.

Solution: Practice your flinches before you go into a negotiation. A concession often follows a flinch.

The Vise Technique: Upon careful consideration of the other party’s proposal, respond ” You’ll have to better than this ” and patiently remain silent and wait for the response and concession. The next person to talk loses. The next person to open his or her mouth will make a concession. The solution is to reply with the counter-tactics “Exactly how much better than that do I have to do?” Pin them down to a specific.

Never Offer to split the difference Instead, try to get the other side to offer to split the difference. “How far apart on this are we? We’re not that far apart. There must be some middle ground on which we can both agree.” When the other side offers to split the difference, you can reluctantly agree to their proposal, which services their perception that they won.

Danger Point: If you offer to split the difference, they could get you to split the difference again.

Solution: Get the other side to offer to split the difference. You may then be able to get them to split the difference again. Even if you don’t, you still make them feel that they won.

Avoid the Rookies regret: Could you have done better? Answer the 3 trailing questions TQs.

1. If I am going to give him a concession what is it gonna cost me?

2. What is it worth to the other guy?

3. What do I want from them of equal value?

Tips and Tricks

  1. Listen more and talk less: Use the 80:20 rule. Listen more and talk less and don’t break any rules.
  2. Specific Numbers have more credibility than round numbers.


People buy on emotions and justify with reasons. People make decisions on not what they think but on how they feel. People will forget what you said to them, people will forget what you did to them, but they will never forget how you made them feel. It is very important that you aim at a win-win situation at the end of the negotiation process. In the end, both parties involved should have satisfied their needs identified before going into the process.

Deals are never decided on price directly. Understanding your needs and the needs of the other party is the most important rule of negotiation. If you can fulfill the need of the other party you have got the deal and most likely a good one.

Please comment below what are the other tricks you use in your negotiations and how well they have served.

SaaS Sales and Marketing – An Overview

Have you ever wondered what a SaaS company is?

Do you want to know how they finds customers?

And also what does a sales role in SaaS company looks like?

I am a Business Development Executive at SaaS company which makes legal software. Today I am going to give you a sneak peak into what goes inside a sales and marketing function of a SaaS company.

Watch on Youtube

Let us start with understanding what SaaS company means?

SaaS stands for Software as a Service. Google, Facebook Salesforce are all SaaS companies. In earlier days like the 1990s and early 2000s software was installed on individual desktops or company servers. SaaS companies like Google and Yahoo were there at that time but it was Amazon Web Services which grew the number of SaaS companies by making IT infrastructure affordable for developers.

Remember installing VLC Media player to watch your favorite movie? Well that was mostly before Netflix which is also a SaaS company. To watch a movie on VLC you downloaded the movie and the VLC media player on your system, installed the player on your system and then played the movie on it. Not any more. Netflix can be accessed over the internet just like your gmail and the movie can be directly played on it. No downloading of the software or the movie is required. Any software service offered over the internet is called Software as a Service or SaaS.

Cab services like Uber and OLA are SaaS companies.Amazon and Flipkart which deliver utility items are also SaaS companies. Even the Google maps that you use to get from point A to point B is a SaaS company.

Let us now understand how these SaaS companies find customers?

It is actually very simple. They go where the customers are. And where are their customers? On the Internet. Simple. The Internet has reached billions of people around the world and most of them spend from a few hours to almost their entire working hours on the internet. On the internet they are doing either of these two things.

  1. Finding solution to their problem
  2. Entertainment

If they are finding a solution to their problem and your company or you as an individual freelancer have a solution to their problem then all you have to do is to present yourself or your services in front of them. Majority of the people search solution to their problems by searching them on Google Search. If you are listed in the search result and the customer connects with you then you have prospective customer. This is called INBOUND Marketing because the customer is searching for your product or service and they are coming IN towards you. You can do INBOUND marketing on the internet through Google Ads, Search Engine Optimization etc.

On the other hand if you have a list email ids and you think some of them might become your customers then you might consider sending them an email. Remember at this point the customer is not looking for a solution to their problem. They might not even know they have a problem. You are connecting to them to trigger a thought in their mind about your product and service. This is called OUTBOUND marketing. This can be done by email marketing, social media and advertisement etc

Now let us look what a Salesperson does in a SaaS company?

Gone are the days when increase in sales was directly related to increase in the number of salespeople. In fact most of the SaaS companies have very few Sales people compared to the revenue they generated if you compare them to non tech or non SaaS company. The sales function has been highly automated like any other business function.

With automation you can reach billions of people with a single click or pinpoint an exact customer across the globe using Google Ads and Google Analytics. Most of the information about the customer can be collected online through search trends, social media profiles or other internet activities. With online payment gateways like Paytm and Google Pay you can purchase any product without ever seeing the face of a salesman.

Does it mean salespeople are not required in a Saas company ? The answer is Yes and No

Yes because anything that can be automated or can be done by computers will be done by computers because they don’t make mistakes, they don’t get tired and they cost less. Computers are already displaying the product in search results and social media advertisements, sharing the benefits through brochures and videos and taking payments through online money transaction software.

No because there are still certain things a sales person does better than computers. Good sales people help customers articulate the requirement better so that they can give better solutions. Computers are learning this skill through Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning but they yet have to reach human level. Secondly humans can generate a requirement for a product or a service which the customers never knew existed in them. People still crave human relationships and hence they would always prefer talking to a person than talk to a computer. Finally most of the software automation has a sales and marketing person behind the computer. So NO it’s too early to say that Sales people are not required in SaaS company.

SaaS companies are here to stay until the next disruptive technology like the Internet comes along. More and more government, professional and personal services will be added to the SaaS list of services.

If you liked the blog or video don’t forget to click the Like and subscribe button. Also share your comments in the box below.