In this day and age, most sales trainers have finally caught on to the idea that salespeople must ask their prospects questions in selling situations. However, beyond that simple level of understanding, few trainers have developed a clear process of questions for salespeople to implement.
The purpose of asking questions in sales is two-fold. First, a salesperson must fully understand a prospect’s challenges and goals in order to sell effectively. Second, when a salesperson hits on the right questions, a prospect begins to understand the value that a product or service can bring. Here are five questions you should ask every prospect:
What are your biggest challenges with regards to [salesperson’s area of focus]? You should begin every selling conversation by trying to understand the relevant challenges a prospect is facing. So if you sell promotional products, you want to understand your prospect’s challenges surrounding promotional products, branding, marketing and company image.
Can you give me specific examples of said challenges? When a prospect discusses challenges in broad, abstract terms, they can seem less urgent. Challenges do not become real for the prospect until he has begun to give concrete examples from his personal business experiences..
What would solving these challenges mean to your top/bottom line? This question can help you start to understand the dollar value of solving your prospect’s challenges. If improving a company’s branding could lead to an additional $5M in sales, then that is the value that could be brought to the table with a comprehensive solution.
What could you see investing to accomplish that? Salespeople are so afraid to ask for a prospect’s budget, but not doing so is a massive lost opportunity. The money conversation needs to take place before you put together a sales proposal.
Who else should be involved in this conversation? Have you ever given a presentation only to find that you weren’t dealing with the true decision-maker? This happens all the time and can be easily avoided with this one simple question.
What questions do you find most valuable in your selling? Please share below in the comments.
Marc Wayshak is author of the book Game Plan Selling and a sales keynote speaker.