Have you ever thought: Why did I lose that deal? What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? We all have these thoughts. In the article titled “The 3 Sales Questions I Should Have Asked” by Jill Konrath, she reflects on her experiences.
She remembers: “In retrospect, I mistakenly let my own eagerness to do business with this marquis customer outweigh my common sense. I should have known better, but I was seduced by the opportunity.
“Over and over again, I see other sellers make similar mistakes when they have a ready-to-buy-now prospect on the line. Like me, they expound on their capabilities and benefits. They willingly provide detailed information and do tons of extra work to create proposals or presentations—anything the prospects want.”
While this strategy puts you into the “nice” seller category, it doesn’t help your prospects make the best decision for their organization. Nor does it enable you to separate yourself from your competitors. You just come across as an overeager beaver. And usually you don’t get the business.
That’s why, when these prospects contact you, it’s imperative to not let your common sense fly out the window. Here’s what you can do instead: ask questions
It’s good for both you and your prospect to dig in and ask the hard questions. At first, they often feel inappropriate; especially when you feel like you should be “selling.” But in reality, they are exactly what you should be doing—helping potential clients make the best possible decision for their business.
Here are three questions you must ask about—even if they’re uncomfortable:
1.) Are they 100% sure they’re going to change—or are they trying to determine if it makes sense?
This is crucial in determining your next step. If they’re still trying to decide, your focus needs to be on the business case. If they’re committed to taking action, then the focus becomes differentiation.
2.) What other options are they considering—and have they ever done business with any of these companies before?
If your prospect has an existing business relationship, make sure to explore why they’d consider changing. It’s a lot more work than staying with the status quo and if they don’t have a good reason, they’re likely not going with you.
3.) What are their decision criteria – and why is each factor important?
When you find out what criteria they plan to base their decision on, it ultimately helps you:
>> Figure out which aspects of your own product/service you should stress;
>> Determine how you stand against your competitors; and
>> Uncover any possible misconceptions about the best solution for them.
Plan these questions now. Do it before you talk to a real, live, ready-to-buy-now prospect. You’ll also want to practice asking these questions aloud too. Ultimately, asking the tough questions will make you more likely to identify the opportunities with potential and thus close more deals.
NexLevel Advisors helps its clients bring strategic focus to the art of selling. We understand the need for your sales organization to deliver results today in a competitive and ever changing marketplace. Our dynamic and specifically tailored approach, repeatable process and insight into complicated selling propositions elevate your team to the next level.
About The Author
Michael Hammond is chief strategy officer at PROGRESS in Lending Association and is the founder and president of NexLevel Advisors. They provide solutions in business development, strategic selling, marketing, public relations and social media. He has close to two decades of leadership, management, marketing, sales and technical product experience. Michael held prior executive positions such as CEO, CMO, VP of Business Strategy, Director of Sales and Marketing and Director of Marketing for a number of leading companies. He is also only one of about 60 individuals to earn the Certified Mortgage Technologist (CMT) designation. Michael can be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.