“Thanks, we will get back to you.”

These words may sound encouraging but to a salesperson it can enter the realms of discouraging, time wasted and frustration. Leaving salespeople asking: “Am I fishing with the wrong bait or fishing with no bait at all?”

Despite what businesses wish to believe, not everyone is going to need or want the product or service they’re offering. It’s then up to the salespeople who are left with the tricky task of deciphering if someone will buy or not. So how exactly does a salesperson determine if someone is worth their time?

They learn the art of questioning. Any great salesperson knows that the best qualification tool is asking questions, lots of questions, great questions, ones that don’t waste yours or the client’s time. In this time, a salesperson wants to focus on not so much about products/services but what is happening in the client’s business, their area and what they are focussed on solving.

For internal sales I would have a checklist- a process to ensure they ask appropriate questions.

For external sales- this should be ingrained- and yet the norm is far from it. I generally insist on having the answers to certain questions before a proposal is allowed to be generated.

Unravelling the client’s true mentality towards a product/service takes energy and time. During qualification, it’s up to the salesperson to recognise who’s a successful client in the making and who is giving them the run-around. In conjunction this process aids in getting any elephants out of the room, establishing relationships and trust between the salesperson and their lead.

Here are ten great questions to ask:

  1. What is prompting you to do something about this now?
  2. How does your company make the decision to buy?
  3. Who is the key decision maker?
  4. If you don’t take any action to purchase this time, what remedial actions do you plan to make?
  5. What are you currently spending to solve the problem?
  6. Is there anyone else in the company who I should present to?
  7. Are there any hurdles that we may encounter that could get in the way of us working together?
  8. Have you ever considered buying this product?
  9. How do you see yourself using this product? How will it help?
  10. What will it cost you and your company if you don’t buy and keep things the way they are today?

traffic light pic

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can decide whether it’s a Green-Go, Yellow-Go Cautiously Ahead or a Red-Stop Now, situation.

This is why it is so important to have a sales process and an ideal client, this help so you can focus your time and energy on leads that make the cut. Ensure a more targeted and focused lead generation approach- a salesperson’s dream.

What question would you add to this list?

Originally posted on LinkedIn