The following are eleven good questions for salespeople. In order to be an effective salesperson, it is about knowing the right questions to ask and not so much about knowing all the answers.
1. Why are you looking to make a change?
When speaking with a prospect that is interested in purchasing your products and services, it is valuable to gather why they’re seeking to make changes. We can tell the prospect why they should make a change, but getting the prospect to tell you, in their own words, why they would like to make a change can reveal some valuable information.
You may uncover that you’re not talking to a qualified prospect if they’re not able to answer you or don’t have a valid answer.
2. What happens if you do not do anything?
It is great to have in-depth discussions with a prospect – you have a really great product and the prospect is ecstatic about it and seems very interested. Now, what occurs if the prospect doesn’t buy from you or simply does nothing?
If there isn’t a big impact if the prospect doesn’t commit, there could be some doubt regarding whether the deal is legit and this is the key thing with questions for salespeople. It is important to search out prospects with a noticeable impact if they don’t purchase which causes more justification to make the commitment when the time comes to purchase.
3. What other options are you considering?
Commonly, salespeople make assumptions that they are the only option that the prospect is considering. Also, salespeople often either forget to seek out the competition or feel like they shouldn’t ask.
Assuming that the prospect is speaking to other vendors is the best practice to follow. This in conjunction with a very direct question asking what their other options are is very appropriate and productive.
4. How do you feel about your other options?
When identifying that the prospect is considering other options, you’re likely to hear the competitors names that are involved and immediately know how you compare. What truly matters is that your knowledge about the competitive landscape may be different from the prospect’s knowledge.
By delivering one of the direct questions for salespeople, you will identify how the prospect sees things and how each option compares to one another. Ask them how they feel about all of their different options.
5. How long have you been looking at them?
It is important to ask questions for salespeople if the prospect is speaking with other vendors to uncover the length of time they have been talking with them. It’s likely that there are strong relationships and rapport built with other vendors and you may more of an outsider if you uncover the prospect has been speaking with other vendors for months and you’re coming in at the tail end.
This isn’t a game-stopper, but it’s valuable information to reveal where you stand and possibly the length of time you should invest. There may be an even playing field in terms of relationships if there isn’t a significant difference in time.
6. What do you want to do next?
Commonly, salespeople push prospects to move forward. Partly, that is trying to get the prospect to do what the salesperson wants them to do next in terms of meeting, seeing a demo, looking at paperwork, etc.
A more powerful approach in place of pushing the prospect along is to ask them what they would like to do next. You can make some suggestions as to what direction to go, but checking in to get the prospect’s opinion and having them make the forward direction, can be a very healthy direction to go in terms of building relationships and creating quality leads.
7. When do you want to meet again?
Asking the prospect when they want to meet again is a lot like the last question. Also, this could be asking the prospect what pace to move at.
Most salespeople will push a prospect to meet and move as quickly as possible which makes this question powerful. Letting the prospect decide what pace to move at can be one of the questions for salespeople that will have a positive impact.
8. How do you feel about your current system/provider on a scale from 1 to 10?
Prospects are very likely already using something in your area. With that being the case, you want to find out how things are going with that. For example, are things great, OK, or could be better? Knowing this will help with your effort to create leads and qualify prospects.
By spending too much too time when you come across prospects that are doing great, it may be tough to get them to change. Instead, you’re seeking out those that are just OK or could need improvement and this is one of the questions for salespeople that will help with that.
9. What is the decision-making process?
How much power the prospect has and who the ultimate decision maker is are things you will always need to know. Sometimes this can be a touchy subject to bring up, but simply asking what the decision-making process is and mapping it out will assist with identifying where the authority to buy lies.
10. Is there budget approved for this purchase?
Qualifying prospects by identifying if they have money to spend is another important area to be aware of. Questions for salespeople to assist with this is to ask if there’s a budget that’s been approved for the purchase that the prospect is considering.
11. What is the budget range that you are trying to stay within?
Discovering how much the prospect is looking to spend is another key area to focus in on. This can be both tough to ask and tough to get an answer. Being very direct and asking what the budget range is that they are trying to stay within is one approach.
SalesScripter provides a sales script tool that provides good questions for salespeople.