Here are ten sales questions that will could immediately improve your sales results. These simple questions can help you to extract key details and that will help you to better qualify prospects leading to a healthier pipeline of deals that are easier to close.
1. Why are you looking to make a change?
If you are talking to a prospect that is interested in purchasing your products and services, it is valuable to find out why they are looking to make a change. You can likely tell them exactly why they should make a change, but getting them to tell you why in their own words can reveal some valuable information.
And if they are not able to answer you or do not have a good answer, you might find out that you are not talking to a qualified prospect.
2. What happens if you do not do anything?
You may have great discussions going on with a prospect – you have a really great product and the prospect is very excited about it and appears very interested. But what happens if the prospect does not buy from this product from you?
The key thing with this is that if there is not a big impact if the prospect does nothing, there could be some doubt as to whether the deal is real and if the prospect will pull the trigger.
You are asking to identify prospects where there is a noticeable impact if they do not purchase. This help will help create the justification to make the commitment when it is time to purchase.
3. What other options are you considering?
It can be common for sales people to assume that they are the only option that the prospect is considering. Or sales people can often either forget to ask sales questions to find out who the competition is or feel like it is not appropriate to ask.
But the best practice is to always assume that the prospect is talking to other vendors. And with that, a very direct question of “Who else are you all looking at?” is very important and appropriate to ask and the answer will provide very valuable information.
4. How do you feel about your other options?
When you find out what other options the prospect is considering, you can follow that up by asking sales questions to find out how they feel about those potential directions. They may be looking at your direct competitor. Find out what they think about them.
And if they are not looking at anyone else, the other option is to do nothing and your competition is the status quo. This is a good time to see how they feel about the option of doing nothing.
5. How long have you been looking at them?
If the prospect is talking with other vendors, it is important to find out how long they have been talking with them. If they have been talking with the other vendors for months and you are just now getting involved, it is likely that there are strong relationships and rapport built on that side and you may be more of an outsider.
If that is the case, it is not a game stopper, but it is a valuable detail that can tell you where you stand and how much time you should invest as you might be far from being the frontrunner on winning the deal. And if there is not a large difference in time, then there may be an even playing field in terms of relationships.
6. What do you want to do next?
It can be common for sales people to ask sales questions that push prospects to move forward. And part of that is trying to get the prospect to do what the sales person wants to do next in terms of scheduling a meeting, seeing a demo, looking at paperwork, etc.
But sometimes a more powerful way to go is to ask the prospect what they want to do next. Of course you can make some suggestions as to what directions to go, but checking in and getting the prospect to verbally say what they want to do and make the forward direction come from them, can be a very health direction to go in terms of building relationships and creating quality leads.
7. What is the decision making process?
You always will want to know how much power the prospect has and who the ultimate decision maker is. This can be sometimes a tricky subject as you either might not want to ask the prospect how much power they have, or if you ask them who the decision maker is, they may just answer by saying that they are when they truly aren’t the ultimate decision maker.
An easy way around this and to get to the key information that you need is to ask sales questions that probe for what the decision making process is. Have them take you through the main steps all the way to the purchase being made. Yes, they might be one of the decision makers in the process but if you try to map out the steps, you may identify if a committee is involved and what other parties will need to sign off.
8. What is the criteria that you will be basing your decision on?
The prospect might be asking you a lot of questions about your products and services. And you might be answering all of their questions. But in most cases, their questions are being driven by some set of criteria – a list of requirements that they are looking for and they are asking you questions to determine how you align with their decision making criteria. They will likely purchase from the vendor that aligns best.
You could just answer all of their questions, but if you really want to improve your odds of getting the business, ask sales questions that find out what the criteria is that they will be basing their decision on and then work to communicate how you match up better than anyone else.
9. Is there a budget approved for this purchase?
An important area to look at when qualifying prospects is to identify if they have money to spend. This is also an area where a sales person may begin to feel uncomfortable or feel like it is inappropriate to inquiry about.
That is understandable but if you ask this question very directly, “Is there a budget approved for this purchase?”, you will begin to get an idea if there is money to spend.
10. What is the budget range that you are trying to stay within?
And if the prospect has money has money to spend, it is helpful to know how much, or at least is the amount that they are open to spending in the same ballpark as what your product costs. This also falls into the sales questions that are tricky to ask as not only do you not want to ask the prospect how much they are wanting to spend, but your prospect also does not want to answer that question.
Think of it like asking interview questions. If you ask the prospect what the budget range is that they are trying to stay in, you can usually get some information from the prospect regarding how much they have and are willing to spend and this will tell you if you are even in the same area. You can add some sample ranges to this question but saying something like, “Are you looking to stay within the area of $10K to $25K or do you need to be in $50K to $100K?”.
SalesScripter will provide you with powerful sales questions.