Every day as a teleprospecting representative we make outbound calls to engage in conversations with prospects. The goal is always the same, find out more information about the environment and any pains or needs the prospects may be experiencing. We want to know who the proper decision maker is and determine if there is enough synergy between their organization and my clients to move to the next step in the buying process.
The biggest problem most teleprospecting reps experience is what to do once they have a prospect live on the phone and now must engage that prospect in a real conversation. You would think that, as sales professionals, we all talk every day to friends, family and our peers so that we would be well versed at having meaningful conversations and leading prospects through the conversation. The key is to not only ask the right questions that get the answers you are looking for, but to know where you want the conversation to go.
The one thing to consider when you are engaged with a prospect and a meaningful dialogue has ensued is to never ask a question in which you don’t know what you want the answer to be. I am not saying that you need to know the answer that a prospect is going to provide, but you should be aware of specific answers and where you want to progress from there with your follow up questions. Mapping out your conversational goals prior to any scheduled call (or outbound “cold” call) will help you avoid asking meaningless questions during your conversation so that you can extract the information you need in a timely manner and either set up a next step with the prospect or move on to your next targeted dial. Your follow up questions are what give you the ability to qualify your prospect in or out, so ask questions that lead to meaningful answers.
This reminds me of Alice in Wonderland when Alice meets the Cheshire Cat for the first time and they have a brief, but meaningful conversation. This is how it went:
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Alice : “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to!”
Alice: “I don’t much care where…”
Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
If Alice knew where she wanted to go she could have been more specific in her request/question and got the answer she was looking for.
There needs to be a clear direction mapped properly when you have a conversation or you just end up going around in circles getting nowhere. Questions need to be clear, concise and purposeful to have a conversation move along seamlessly and in a direction that will provide you with the answers that you may need. Your questions need to be focused on the prospect, their pains and how you can help alleviate some of the problems they have been experiencing, this way we are building a relationship through our conversation.
Train your teleprospecting reps to map out their conversational goals prior to any phone call and coordinate their follow up questions appropriate to the answers they may receive. You will find your reps engaged in more meaningful conversations that are producing more qualified opportunities.