Ask the Right Questions

We are all aware of the importance of asking good questions. But many sales professionals might not know how to create them. In the Needs Audit we have the opportunity to ask our prospects status quo queries. The purpose of these questions is to create an epiphany of value in the minds of our prospects so that status quo is no longer acceptable.

In a recent blog Michael W. McLaughlin wrote about how we can create effective sales questions.

“You can design perfect sales questions every time with the right advance preparation. The quality of work you do before a sales meting determines the quality of your questions during the meeting. Great reparation will free up the mental bandwidth you need to focus on nuances about the client’s needs that will elude the less-prepared seller.”

What an insightful comment by Mr. McLaughlin. In order to develop appropriate and effective status quo queries you need to take some time and ask yourself some questions about your prospect. You need to consider your own hypothesis about why a specific prospect would be interested in what you have to offer.

A way to figure out what benefits you can offer to a specific prospect is to look at the benefits you provide to a similar client. Ask yourself what organizations do I have experience with that look like this prospect. Look back and see what questions were effective when closing the deal with your current client.

While creating your hypothesis you could come up with some ideas about why your prospect is dissatisfied with their current situation. Perhaps they are paying too much for a particular service, or maybe they aren’t pleased with the customer service they are or are not getting. Whatever the case, consider the prospect and define your hypothesis that suggest they will want to do business with you.

When you have your hypothesis figured out you then need to generate questions that will lead your prospect to discovery. Let’s suppose you are an insurance agent wanting to win a large property and casualty account. You might ask the prospect, “How have your quarterly reviews with your existing agent helped you to make good decisions that have saved you money?” This question stimulates discovery on multiple levels. The prospect is left wondering when the last time they met with their existing agent. They may even realize that they never have a quarterly meaning. So the first thing he notices is that there is real service being offered. The question also suggests that the agent is a good insurance analyst and that he is going to help the prospect analyze his current coverage and make sure it is the correct one.

By asking the right questions you will help your prospect come to an epiphany of value. They will realize specifically what they want, and discover that you understand their goals and priorities.

Asking the Right Questions is one of many topics that will be discussed at the 2009 Griffin Hill Sales Summit. Be sure to register for this free event. The Sales Summit will take place Thursday, October 22nd at the Salt Lake Community College Miller Campus.