Every sales situation is different, but all customers always ask the same questions (silently or aloud) before they buy, according to Duane Sparks, author of "Selling Your Price."  Those 'sales questions' come in this exact order:

1. Do I want to do business with this person?

Within two seconds after you meet a customer, that customer has probably decided whether he is willing to buy from you. That's why first impressions, your appearance and your initial greeting are so important.  Note: the customer may have arbitrary rules about who they like, so don't take personally.

2. Do I want to do business with this firm?

If the customer is not yet familiar with your firm, it's up to you to position it correctly. If the customer is familiar with your firm, then you've either got a good reputation or a bad reputation.  If the latter, you'll need to do damage control before moving any further with the sale.

3. Do I want and need what the selling?

Through the conversation with the customer, you will discover needs (and requirements) that match your offering.  The biggest mistake at this stage is being too pushy. Remember the truism: "Customers like to buy but hate being sold." Finding out that the customer does not need what you've got is just as big a victory as discovering the need.

4. Does the price and value meet my expectations?

The customer has recognized the need, but is now assessing whether or not what you're selling is affordable–and, if affordable, worth the money.  This entails weighing that need against the panoply of other demands that are vying for attention and money.  At this stage, the customer may want (or have) competitive information.

5. Is this the right time to buy?

A customer can be completely ready to buy and yet still feel that it's not the right time.  The customer may believe that holding out will result in a discount, or that another product will come along that makes your current offering obsolete.

Understanding the customer mindset is just one thing sales winners do differently. Read more insights from sales winners in this ebook at the button below.