Salespeople spend a lot of time crafting questions to probe potential customers and--hopefully--close the deal. But, regardless of your product or the size of your company, there are three fundamental questions you must answer for buyers before they will sign on the dotted line. And, when it comes to answering these questions, your behavior often speaks louder than words.

(I would like to say I came up with these questions, but I borrowed them from Lew Holtz, legendary football coach and author--and the man I consider my “long distance mentor.”) 

1. Can I trust you?

Have you ever tried to buy from someone you didn’t trust? It’s difficult, isn’t it? Trust is fundamental to healthy human and business relationships. It is often said that a business is driven by relationships-;that it’s a “relationship” business. Smart sales representatives focus on cultivating trust, taking special care that they keep all commitments they make to clients and potential clients.

2. Do you care about me?

Have you ever been ignored by a sales rep or a store owner? The message they send when they ignore customers is that they don’t care--and they probably don’t. The most effective salespeople care about their customers and put the customer’s interest first, even ahead of their own. Along with being attentive to the customer’s purchasing needs, remembering details, such as birthdays or children’s names, is an effective way for salespeople to show they care.

3. Are you committed to excellence?

When you spend your money, you want to spend it wisely. That's why people prefer to buy from salespeople who truly know their industry and their products from top to bottom. Sales reps--particularly new reps--must be well educated on their products and able to succinctly describe them to customers. Showing you are committed to product education goes a long way toward demonstrating excellence.