A key driver of success in almost all sales situations, regardless of company size or stage of development, is the ability to ask good, probing sales questions early on in the sales process. For those who are wondering, a good sales question is one which:
- Helps to identify whether the current value proposition is working;
- Refines the value proposition to make it more effective when possible;
- Looks for new opportunities for revenue generation
We’ve found that in most cases, clients enjoy discussing their pain points, and chances are if they’re meeting with you than presumably they’ve found something in your messaging that resonates with them.
Identifying Pain Points
The key early on in the sales process is to probe further into their pain points and how the solution you are selling can help. In some cases, this will help solidify whether or not your current value proposition is bang on.
I find this is rare, but it does happen. For example, one of our customer in the financial services space thought their sales messaging hit all the key pain points of their desired clients. Ultimately, tweaking the value proposition slightly based on the answers to our sales questions was all that was required to make the value prop flow smoother and resonate deeper. We’ve subsequently had a tremendous deal of success growing our customer’s client base from 1 to over 40 in only two years.
Finding New Products and Services
In other situations, the sales questions you ask can help you find a new component of your offering to add to the sales messaging.
For example, while working for a client in the software space, hosting of information was a critical component of the outsourcing solution they offered. What we found out through conversation with prospects was that they were very interested in where the data was residing from a data centre/hosting facility standpoint because they were leery of the US Patriot Act and the ability it gives US authorities to review all data stored on US based servers. As it turned out, all the prospects in this space wanted to ensure their data was stored in Canada, a piece of valuable information that wouldn’t have been known without the use of probing sales questions.
In some cases, meetings with prospects can lead to entire new streams of revenue. For one of our clients in the clean tech space who was interested in refining production waste, an area of production waste that was not originally thought to have a lot of value turned out to have considerable value. With the new knowledge, we changed our line of questioning to inquire on a regular basis on whether prospects had this additional waste source and how we would be able to obtain it.
As you can see, asking good probing sales questions early on in the sales process can improve your chances to close deals over time.
To finalize, a great sales question I use is asking the prospect “Have I asked all the right questions? Did I miss anything?” There is no one better than your prospect to know the answer to that.
If you require help selling your B2B product or service, please don’t hesitate to call me. I am always happy to explore opportunities where we can help your organization drive revenue or help your develop your own probing sales questions. For more great startup sales insights, check out our white papers on cold calling and other sales related topics.