If you are frustrated by what you’re hearing in QBRs, opportunity reviews or by the conversations you overhear reps having on the phone, there’s no doubt that improving the way your team communicates with prospects may help alleviate at least some of that frustration.
Here are some key areas of focus for your team members to keep top of mind. Feel free to copy and paste into an email and send to your team. We wrote them in a way you can easily re-purpose.
One of the most important components to effective sales communication is to listen. If you are showing up and merely talking about your products and what you do, you will never be able to elevate your deal size. Be sure you’re asking the questions that uncover business pain.
Start with the question list you've created for your discovery process. Edit it down to four or five questions you know will get to the answers you need. If you have any more, you’ll be so focused on your questions that you won’t be listening. Start with general questions and then move towards more specific pointed questions. Listen to the answers and use what the prospect says to fuel your next question.
To Uncover Negative Consequences, Start Positive in Discovery
We all know that we need to find the pain if we want to move an opportunity forward. The challenge often lies in getting a prospect to tell you problems or challenges he/she is having with the business. One of the easiest ways you can get the person to open up is to ask what is working. Here are a few examples:
Tell me what’s working really well in your business
Walk me through what happens when everything works as it should
What does good look like?
When you ask about the positive, the prospect will often revert to the negative without you asking a question. (e.g., “We have a lot of great sales conversations, a lot of great meetings. People are really interested in the product, but we can’t seem to close them.”) The mention of a challenge gives you permission to follow up and ask more questions about the problem.
Align Your Talking Points to What’s Important to the Customer
Everything you say should be aligned to the customer’s required capabilities and positive business outcomes. We know that the products and services we sell can outperform anyone in the market, but if the customers dosn’t see the tie to their business challenges, their value falls flat. The customer will think they’re too expensive or not a fit for their business. When you create your sales decks, make sure you’re tying all your talking points to what’s important to the customer.
Own Any Needed Next Steps
Don’t let the customer define the next steps. Drive what happens next based on the great information you uncovered or what you’d like an outcome of the conversation to be.
For example, if you’re finishing a discovery session, you can end by asking if there’s anything you missed in the conversation that should’ve been included. That answer can then help fuel the follow-up. Then, I gain commitment on the next part of the conversation. Here’s an example:
“What I’d like to do is to come back next Tuesday and talk with you about what a solution could potentially look like along with how we do it and how (where) we’ve done it before.”
Because I (1) uncovered the business impact and (2) created urgency during my discovery session, my prospects are more than willing to schedule that next meeting.