Whether you are part of, leading or managing a sales team you will find this post invaluable. Recently, when we asked a CEO of a company why their team doesn’t make more sales (with the resources they have available) his response was this; they aren’t asking enough questions. And, as we thought about that some more … it couldn’t have been more true (and simple!). Sales people become so focused on getting people to buy they forget to engage. Engaging means asking your prospects questions.
THINK ABOUT THE LAST TIME YOU WERE MAKING A PURCHASE (BIGGER TICKET)
Did you buy from the first salesperson? Were you shopping around? Who ended up with your sale in the end?
We would bet that the person who landed your sale took an interest in you.
Chances are, you wouldn’t have known if they were commissions based or otherwise. Because, their only agenda was ensuring that your needs and frankly your agenda was met.
Now, apply these same emotions into the last conversation you had with a prospect. Who’s agenda were you working with? Theirs or yours? Sure, it’s easy to say you need to be asking your prospects questions – but which ones?
We know that the following six, are ones you want to be adding to your arsenal. And listen, remember that your questions are a means of engagement not interrogation. So, be genuine in your asking and be present for the answer(s).
6 QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO BE ASKING YOUR PROSPECTS
There’s some irony in asking prospects to talk about themselves. When they do, they will want to reciprocate. Whether it be to say thank you, and in some way – pay us back. And in turn, they do it by listening intently.
Prospects are focused when they are the ones talking. But, they get distracted when someone else is speaking. Don’t fall into the trap of wanting to get your message across. The goal is to create conditions so your prospects can get their story across to you. Story, can also mean needs, pain points — even wants.
NUMBER ONE: WHY DID YOU AGREE TO CHAT WITH ME?
Please note that this can apply to both offline and online marketing. It is totally OK to ask someone why they are taking their time to chat with you. Naturally, you want to find this question an appropriate fit in your conversation – and, it will feel awkward. However, this shows that you value their time more than anything else. Recognize that they have given up something to share the conversation (or meeting) with you.
NUMBER TWO: WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO GET OUT OF THIS CONVERSATION?
Again, this will feel totally awkward at first however, like the previous one this will show your prospects that you are putting the ball in their court (sort of). It given an impression that they are the ones running how this goes – not you. It is a great question to help them engage with you and share their expectations.
NUMBER THREE: ARE THERE SPECIFIC ISSUES/PROBLEMS YOU WANT TO ADDRESS?
One of the largest mistakes sales people make is dancing around the tough subjects. Without question you want to do this with a sensitive undertone – but don’t be shy to ask them what caught their interest or attention. It is totally appropriate to ask this question instead of assuming. One of the first questions we were asked by our coach(es) was; how can I serve you best?
By asking your prospects the tough questions they will respect you for them later.
NUMBER FOUR: YOU ARE THE EXPERT – WHAT IS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE FOR YOU?
Prospects know themselves better than anyone else – remind them of that. What is interesting is that they may in fact have a completely different perspective on the issue at hand. Whereas, with your active listening and asking your prospects the right questions along the way .. you will be able to offer an informed solution or suggestion later on. The last thing you want to do is offer a solution to something they don’t perceive the problem to be.
NUMBER FIVE: HOW SATISFIED ARE YOU IN THE DECISION-MAKING STAGE RIGHT NOW?
By asking your prospects where they are in making a decision, it’s easy to put them on the defensive so they’re less than candid. Instead, this question is designed to help expand the conversation, to let them know you’re interested, but not pushy. If they’re just getting started, you can follow up by asking about their expectations. If they’re further along, you can ask how about how you can help, if at all. Knowing where they are at is pivotal.
NUMBER SIX: IF MY COMPANY COULD GIVE YOU EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEEDED/WANTED, WHAT WOULD THAT LOOK LIKE?
This is a great question because it offers insight into what is important to a prospect. Something that’s not as obvious as it may seem either. It’s a serious mistake to assume you’re getting the message from them. Far too often, words don’t have the same meaning to people – especially through text!
This question serves as a great check-in to be sure you and your prospect are on the same page.
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