You have probably figured out that I’m a bit keen on preparation for a sales call. I will dredge up a quote from an earlier post when I said that Prior Planning Prevents Pi_ _ Poor Performance. Knowing what to ask a prospect is not always easy, particularly when the pace of the sales call can be quick. That’s why I suggest walking into a sales call with specific questions already prepared.
Let’s say that you are calling on an account that you have already qualified. You have called for an appointment and you are meeting with a prospect that has some decision making capabilities. For the sake of the example let’s assume that the company may have a need to upgrade equipment for their manufacturing process. You are in front of your prospect.
Before we go full tilt into the purpose of this post let’s also put forward another sound principle, which is that the more you agree with your prospect earlier in the call, the more they will agree with you later during the sales call. If you do the sales call professionally then there is some give and take early in the sales call. Listen for the things that your prospect says, things they have done, things they believe. As you listen to these comments, examples or situations make a strong effort to agree with them.
In order to ask quality questions you need to know the features of the product and how those features will help prospects. And finally, you’ll need to phrase your questions about the product in such a way that the prospect will agree with you. Here are a few examples:
Wouldn’t that machine give you increased production?
This type of equipment would also shorten your production time, wouldn’t it?
Wouldn’t you agree that the equipment would also increase your product’s profit margin?
Generally, people would rather say yes than no so why not give them the opportunity to say yes more often? Yes, these are leading question but they way they are phrased tends to lead the subject to say yes vs. no. So what do you do if the prospect says no? One response is to just say, oh, and then shut up. Let the prospect respond to why he or she said no. The other way for you to respond is to say something like “I must have misunderstood your earlier comment about needing an upgrade to newer equipment.” And then wait for the prospect to respond. Nine out of ten times they will respond before you have to pick up the thread of the conversation.
Create at least 5-7 of these types of questions. Do you have to use them all? No. Chances are that using 2 or 3 will move the conversation along very nicely.
The Final Thought: Questions are never indiscreet; answers sometimes are. Oscar Wilde