While sales calls should always end with a strong question about objections, leading questions throughout the conversation allow sales leaders to organically discover and address objections before they come up.
So, how can you avoid “tire kickers” who waste your time?
There are 3 subtle questions designed to uncover your prospect’s potential constraints through the course of a single call:
1. What other projects is your team working on at the moment?
Posing a question about the prospect’s internal landscape and unrelated projects is important for a number of reasons:
- Points out potential resource constraints
- Easy transition into budget questions
- Multiple concurrent integrations mean it’s likely you’ll be pushed out and forgotten
- Allows the account executive (AE) to suggest next steps that make sense for the prospect’s team and their timeline.
It’s never a single person who purchases a solution. According to Gartner research, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions.
With that in mind, understanding not just your prospect’s agenda but those of their team, as a whole, will cut down on objections and win more sales.
2. Which feature(s) do you find exciting?
According to themarketingblender.com, “65% of customers are lost because of indifference, not because of mistakes.”
If a prospect isn’t passionate about a specific feature and how it fits into their role, it’s very possible they:
A) Don’t think they’ll utilize the product enough to justify the cost; or
B) The AE didn’t convey how the product can transform their work effectively.
Now, the AE has room to ask followup questions that drill down into exactly what resonates with the prospect.
3. Who else would be interested in sitting in on our next call? What materials can I provide to give them some context beforehand?
These questions are important to ask for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it builds an understanding of key stakeholders and decision makers.
The prospect’s response is also a strong indicator of where the AE stands; assuming you don’t have the prospect’s entire team in the room when you present, customers will almost always need to bring in decision makers, technical team members, or even end users prior to purchase.
If your contact wants to have an internal discussion before scheduling a call between AE and the decision maker, it’s possible they haven’t seen the value provided.
Secondly, it took weeks of training and hours of coaching for you to become confident pitching your solution; while you want your prospect to evangelize your product and sell internally, you can’t fully trust them to communicate the various benefits of your product effectively. Providing relevant content allows the AE to influence the conversation without even being in the room. According to Propeller CRM, 95% of customers buy from salespeople who provide relevant material at every step of the process.
Asking what key stakeholders need to see allows the AE to provide the most relevant content and reduces the possibility of miscommunication from your prospect.
Your goal as a salesperson is to collect as much information as possible in a very short amount of time, while demonstrating specific value in your company’s product set. It’s not an easy task.
It’s definitely important to be clear about your sales process and overtly ask about roadblocks, but paying close attention to the clues your prospect gives throughout your call provides just as much information about obstacles moving forward.
Essentially, you have to do more than just ask the right questions. Critically thinking about how the prospect answered and what their responses mean gives you the ability to avoid their obstacles and prove your value. Ultimately, that’s what wins the sale.