The sales qualification process is much like a game of chess. You will not figure out the next move unless you uncover your opponent’s strategy. If you don’t ask the right questions when trying to make a sale, you aren’t going to understand the problems that you need to solve or the needs you must fulfill for your potential client.
There is, however, an art to asking sales questions. The trick is perfecting this art like you work to perfect your chess game. Here are a few sales qualification questions that will help refine your skills:
- Start with broad, open-ended questions, and then get to the specifics. – This is a good way to begin the process of gathering general information while also putting your customer at ease. They will be able to answer in just about any way and you can pick up a lot of helpful information for the future. You should really listen to what your prospective client says - and doesn’t say – about their business so that you can explore the topics in greater depth later on.
- Use the lingo. – Before your meeting, do a bit of research on the client and his or her business. Find out if there are any terms or technical jargon that you can use when talking to an expert in their field. However, do not use this language in a flashy way or in a way that might do more harm than good; simply show your client that you took the time to learn a little bit about their industry when it is appropriate.
- Build on the prospect’s responses and use a logical sequence. – The most logical source of your next question is in the answer that the prospective client gives to your previous one. Listen for keywords in their responses that would be effective in your next question. This will also help the prospect feel secure and builds trust, as they know where your questions are headed because you are keeping your intent very clear.
- Avoid simple “yes” and “no” questions, and don’t be afraid to ask “why.” – Every good salesperson knows that it is best to avoid questions that could be answered with a single word response. Instead, make a point of framing your questions so that their responses could allow for a more exploratory follow-up question. If you are not getting the answers that you need, simply try asking the reason why something did or did not work or happen.
- Keep a focus on the desired outcome. – Be sure to explain the benefits of your services or products, as your client may not be totally well versed in what you can do for them. Don’t ask them what benefits they are looking for – instead tell them what benefits will be theirs should they choose to work with you and your company.