The Quality of Information You Receive
Depends on the Quality of Your Questions
As a seasoned sales professional, you are familiar with the importance of asking good questions in order to discover how a prospect can benefit from your product or service. The right questions give you good information that will move the conversation and process forward.
The Not-So-Basic Openers
The first priority is to learn as much as you can about pain points and about your prospect’s current environment.
- What is your biggest challenge, and what do you think is the cause?
- How long has it been going on?
- Are you doing anything about it currently, or have you in the past?
- If you could solve it, what would that be worth?
Staying on Track
While you don’t want to control the conversation too overtly, you need to focus on gaining an understanding of how they can benefit from a relationship with you. Use follow-up questions such as these for clarity:
- Can you give me a little more detail about that?
- Could you give me a specific example?
- How often does this happen?
Show Me the Money
Finding the decision-maker and/or economic buyer (the person who can sign the check) is paramount. If you are not sure, ask these questions:
- From whose budget would this come?
- Who can immediately approve this project or support this initiative?
- Can you help me better understand your purchasing process?
These are all-purpose but also particularly useful when you hear objections.
- Why do you say that about . . .?
- Can you help me better understand . . .?
Of course, the above questions are purposely generic to show the principles. Your questions will need to be tailored to your own circumstances. Consider this example from my own business. As a sales presentation skills coach and trainer, all my inquiries are incoming or referrals. I often hear, “What is your approach to sales presentation skills training?”
My goal is to ignore the question gracefully and find out more about them. I begin the conversation by finding where the inquiry came from. “Can we step backwards for a moment? Were you referred or am I the end of a web search?” Whatever the response, my next question is, “May I ask what just happened for you to be looking for a sales presentation skills trainer?” Quite often I hear, “We just lost a large sale we fully expected to win.”
Now I go into mission mode, asking some of the following questions as they fit the circumstance:
- May I ask how much it would have been worth to your company if you had made the sale?
- Is that a small, medium, or large sale?
- How long is the life of a normal client?
- What is the average client worth to you?
- How many sales professionals do you have?
- How many final sales presentations do they deliver?
- Do you keep statistics on your closing rate?
Can you see what I am finding out? 1) What the problem is; 2) how big the problem is; and 3) what it’s costing their company.
But here is the key: You must let the prospect work out the cost for themselves.
Notice that at this point I have not told them how I will solve the problem.
Until you have the right information from the prospect, you do not know what approach to take to solve their problem. Remember, the prospect is more interested in themselves than in you. That means it is impossible to give a great presentation until you know where your focus needs to be.
Companies hire Patricia Fripp to help them drive more sales by perfecting their important conversations and presentations. You can too!
“To watch how our veteran group of salespeople became involved in your Storytelling to Increase Sales was impressive. We are excited to continue your training with FrippVT Sales.” Jeff Walters, Vice President, North American Sales, Peak-Ryzex
“The information in FrippVT is as valuable as any college course I’ve taken. This is a resource that everyone needs. The investment is worth ten times more than I paid and has been life-changing. My fees, recommendations, and referrals have increased dramatically. I am delighted. For the first time in my speaking career, I know exactly want I am doing when I walk on stage. One technique in course 8 helped me win an international speech.” Mitzi Perdue, author of How to Make Your Family Business Last
“We consider the investment in Patricia’s coaching a ‘must-have’ part of our events. Since Patricia has been working with our expert technical presenters our customers rate their performances superb.” Greg Smith, Vice President, Product Marketing at Nutanix
“As a seasoned speaker being coached by Patricia Fripp has helped me deliver my game-changing message with more power and eloquence. My client testimonials and feedback prove it.” Ron Karr, CSP, Past President, National Speakers Association
Need help for you or your team on improving important conversations and presentations? The Fripp Customized Approach will work for you. Contact Fripp today!