5 Questions to Ask on Every Sales Call

5 Questions to Ask on Every Sales Call

By Scott Sambucci | January 1, 2012

Have some courage – you’re allowed to ask questions. It’s a conversation, not an interrogation.

1. How do you mean? (courtesy Brian Tracy)
Prospects will tell you all kinds of things on a call – much of it won’t make sense.  Ask this question to clarify what they’re thinking so you can be 100% sure you understand what they’re communicating.

1b. I don’t think I understood – would you mind running that by me one more time?
This is a variation of “How do you mean?” You’re allowed to ask for clarification.  The prospect is a prospect, not the great and powerful Oz. Take a moment to ask for another run-through of what they’ve just explained.  It probably is complicated and they probably know that it is. They’ll appreciate that you want to comprehend their problem fully so that you prescribe a treatment for it with your incredibly awesome product.

2. What’s the most important part of your business?
The idea here is to get to the root of the prospect’s existence so you can eventually unearth the critical business issue on which you’re going to sell your product.

Be careful.  You must be truly interested in the answer to this question and give the prospect a reason for asking. More so, this can’t be a question that can be answered on the prospect’s company website.

3. How would this help your business?
This question gets the customer doing two things it gets the prospect envisioning the use of your product and gives you the selling points to drive at the rest of the conversation.

4. Why is that important?  How important is that?  Is that a “gotta have” or “nice to have”?
Prospects like to push just to see what you have and usually they don’t know they’re pushing. Don’t panic – just ask them how important the particular feature is to their work.  Usually, it’s not very important.  For those times it is important, you’ll be able to build that functionality into your product.  If you can’t then chances are the competition can’t either.

5. What happens next? (courtesy Michael Pedone)
This establishes a specific course of action for when the call ends.  You need advances, not continuations.

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