Much in the sales process is about timing. You need to get ahold of prospects at the right time of year before they’ve spent their budgets, but also when their need is the greatest. You also have to get in contact with them at the right time of day, when they are not swamped with meetings and are actually able to speak with you. Even when you’ve finally managed to get them on the phone, the clock is ticking, and every question you ask them has to count. Every question should lead to information that will help you frame the need that your services can resolve.
So which questions are the most important to ask? Different questions serve different tactical purposes. Take a look at some examples below of questions and the purposes they serve:
Information gathering: While you should already have done your research on the company and their potential needs, you should aim to gather additional knowledge from your contact that will further make your case.
- What are your expectations/requirements for a product/service like this?
- With whom have you had success in the past?
- What were the features that you liked?
- What challenge did you experience with that product?
- What is the usual process for implementing a new product or service like this?
Qualifying questions: Quickly gauge your prospect’s interest or need for more information.
- What is your timeline for purchasing this kind of product/service
- Has budget been established for this?
- What other factors should we discuss before moving forward?
- What do you see as the next action steps?
- What concerns do you have?
Trust-developing questions: Show the prospect that you are concerned about addressing and supporting their needs, not just about making a sale.
- How long has your company been involved in…?
- What’s your most important priority at this time and why?
- What would you like to see improved?
- How has the recent market trends been affecting your company?
Closing questions to ask yourself: Are you ready to close the sale?
- Is there value in my product/service for the prospect? Does the prospect understand this value?
- Have I minimized risk and other concerns for my prospect?
- Have I created urgency for the prospect?
- Have I demonstrated better value than the competition?
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