Asking the right questions is a key part of any salesperson's toolkit, but which ones are the most effective?
Arguably the most important element of sales is asking leads the right questions. This is normally the lynchpin deciding whether or not you make a good impression and gain their trust, allowing the sale to progress.
Here are some of the best questions to ask for more effective selling:
What are your business priorities?
All the research in the world won't allow you to know a prospective client's business as well as they do, so ask about it. Of course, you want to phrase it in a way that doesn't make it sound like you're cold calling or don't know anything about them. For example, if you're approaching someone in digital marketing you could ask:
"As a digital marketing specialist, are there any specific areas you want to focus on over the next year?"
Or make it simple and lead with:
"What are your business goals for the next quarter and beyond?"
This helps with your sale because all decisions made within a company will be in the shadow of whether or not they make it easier for them to reach their long or short-term goals. Getting insight into this area of business isn't something you will normally achieve looking at a company website and such information can be gold when trying to guide clients to conversion.
It can also help you understand if the person you are speaking to has the authority to give your sale the green light, or whether you'd be better talking to someone higher up. This can save you valuable time in the sales process.
How do you inform your business decisions?
Getting a picture of how decisions are signed off will help you tailor your approach. You might need to convince your contact enough of your value that they can act as your advocate or you might need to organize a meeting with a decision maker. Larger companies will have more rigid processes that involve legal teams adding you as one of their suppliers.
Understanding what the decision making process is like for the client you're speaking with will allow you to tailor your conversation and make the most of it.
Aside from the actual process, it should also lead to what their other priorities are. They may have strict budgets or a drive to improve customer experience. Whatever it is, you need to show a way that your product or service provides a solution to this. If it doesn't, move on to the next lead.
How can I reach you?
Even the keenest lead won't want to be bothered at the wrong time of day or on a channel that doesn't suit them. Find out how and when is best to contact them in future. This may be to follow up on something that you've agreed during your conversation or it might be that they don't need your services right now but may in the future.
For many people, the answer is nearly always email. It allows them to read the information at a time that is convenient for them or ignore it. This means your email needs to stand out from the crowd of other sales emails. You can try an effective subject line or ask the lead about what you can put in it so they remember you, either way, you need to make sure your email is opened and read.
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