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Sales Tip: Ask Great Sales Questions

by Trish Bertuzzi on Wed, Apr 02, 2008

Does your team ask great questions?  Every salesperson thinks they ask great questions, but do you really? 

The shortest distance between winning a deal and having it slip from month to month is a direct one.  In fact, it's these direct questions that encourage prospects to share information, establish a personal relationship with us, and increase our chance of selling our solution.  

Here are some great questions we have collected in our travels.   Use these questions as part of your sales process today.

Qualifying:

Was there a compelling event that caused you to request information?

  • If there was a compelling event, you will uncover it right away and can position your product or service to address it.
  • If there was not an event, then you know you have to invest in educating the prospect by evolving latent pain into recognized pain.

What is the most important thing you hope to accomplish by investing in our solution?

  • If the prospect can articulate what they want to accomplish it clearly defines where they are in the investigation process and whether or not they are educated on the value of your solution. If you listen closely, you may even be able to ascertain if your competition has been defining their requirements.
  • If they can't articulate their objectives and success criteria, are they ready to invest in a solution?

What would you like to see happen as a next step?

  • As salespeople we are controlling and prefer to dictate what will happen next. Asking an open-ended question will allow you to see where they are in the process and can quite often move the process along faster than you would have thought.

Competition:

Are you considering other vendors?

  • Don't be shy - just ask. Everybody has competitors.
  • If they are not looking at competitors, are they really in the market for a solution?

You are looking at 3 vendors, could you please rank them for me?

  • This will tell you a lot about your probability to bring the deal to closure. Why wait until the end of the sales process to find out where you stand? Finding out early will allow you to develop a strategy for becoming or staying number one.

Forecasting and closing:

On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being highly likely), how likely are you to select our solution?

  • This one's truly a great question. The answer tells you all you need to know.

When are you looking to make a purchasing decision?  When will you be implementing?

  • If they answer they will be purchasing in June and implementing in October, guess what, they will be making the decision late summer so forecast accordingly.
  • If they will be purchasing in September and implementing in October, is that a realistic timeframe with your solution? You are the expert and you may need to guide your customer.

If you were me, would you forecast this business this month?

  • Ask the question...it will increase your forecasting accuracy. What? You didn't think they knew you were in sales and had to forecast? Ok, if you're really shy...tell them your management team requires it of you. They do right?

If you have great questions you have been using, feel free to share.  Happy Selling!
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Topics: sales process, sales tips, lead qualification

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