Salespeople who have the ability to ask great questions and use the answers to benefit their sales conversations are able to drive larger deal sizes. When you’re able to uncover the largest business problem and at the same time, create a sense of urgency in the sales process, you’ll create great value. That value prevents discounting and transactional commodity selling.
Asking great questions is not easy. It takes intensive listening and thoughtful preparation. However, best-in-class salespeople often have a few go-to questions that they use to drive great sales conversations.
We asked our own sales team for some of their favorites. Here are five questions that will help you dig deep into the business problem, no matter the customer.
1. How does the process for X work? Walk me through your process for …
This question lets you in on the current state. How are they doing things now? If you want your prospect to see that change is needed, you have to be able to understand the current process.
2. What’s working really well?
If you want to uncover a problem, then start by asking about the positive. One technique great sellers use is to ask the prospect what’s working well for them. Often times, the person’s answer will also let you in on what’s not working.
“X is working well, but I would like to see Y improve.”
In our sales conversations, we may hear something like, “We are selling to a lot of new customers and closing a lot of new business. However, the average deal size is pretty low.”
3. What will happen if you don’t take action to fix this problem?
This question uncovers the negative consequences of whatever problem you’ve uncovered. It’s critical that you dig deep on the business pain of the problem. The greater the risk, the more likely you’ve found the customer’s biggest problem.
4. What’s the problem costing you?
Money talks. You can uncover the negative consequences, but you also need to tie that fallout to true financial impact. If you don’t know how the problem is showing up on the bottom line, you won’t be able to compel the customer to take action. How much money does the prospect stand to lose if they don’t fix the problem?
5. How much time do you have to solve the problem?
There’s no better way to create urgency than to uncover a problem that can’t go another day without being fixed. How quickly does the problem have to be solved before people start losing their jobs or significant change affects the organization?