One of the biggest keys to having a successful sales meeting is asking the right questions to unlock your prospect’s pain points. Your sales team should also know how to time their questions during the meeting to improve your chances of converting a prospect to a customer.
Asking the right questions at the wrong time or asking the wrong questions at the right time could be hurting your sales team’s conversion rate.
Have your sales team follow this game plan for hitting the sweet spot during a sales meeting!
Start with a Prepared Question
First, a good salesperson does their homework by researching the prospect before the sales meeting. From that research, you can formulate a well thought out, open-ended question to kick off the sales meeting.
But, perhaps you did not do your homework in advance. Or, there simply was not enough information available to understand the prospect’s position. Take a different approach by asking a high-level question to get a better understanding of the prospect. A great salesperson understands a prospective client’s value proposition, is aware of recent market trends, has an understanding of the main competitors, and wants to learn more about how the prospect is struggling to compete.
Whether you are prepared with an open-ended question or need to ask a generic opening question, the importance of that introductory question is two-fold. First, it sets the course for the meeting by leading the prospect where you want to go in order to discuss your product or solution. Second, it helps you maintain control of the dialogue throughout the meeting.
Conversely, you should not start with a direct, qualifying question. That is too early in the meeting to begin discussing potential products or solutions. You need to take the time to listen and learn from the prospect’s positioning.
A top performing salesperson will anticipate what type of answers the prospect will provide to their prepared introductory questions. That way, they can remain in control of the dialogue without stumbling around trying to figure out an answer, losing the audience.
This will lead you to the next type of questions you should be asking to unlock the prospect’s pain points.
The Importance of Clarifying Questions
Now that you have a general overview of the prospect’s positioning, you can start drilling in deeper based on the prospect’s answer. This includes asking clarifying questions.
Clarifying questions shows that you did your research on the prospect before the meeting. Or, if you were not able to do research, it shows that you are capable of thinking on your feet to maintain control of the meeting.
Examples of open-ended qualifying questions that you should complete with relevant and specific details include:
- Can you tell me more about…?
- Can you explain why your company does...?
- Would you elaborate on why…?
Now you’re getting closer to the prospect’s pain points by gaining a better understanding of what opportunity they are trying to capitalize on or what concern they need to address.
Ask These 6 Follow-up Questions
Now you are ready to ask follow-up questions that incorporate the traditional who, what, where, when, why, and how to keep the conversation moving. This leads the prospect to seeing your product or solution addressing their need.
- Who in your organization needs the problem fixed?
- What does the problem cost your business?
- Where did the problem start?
- When does the problem need to be fixed by?
- Why has it not been addressed yet?
- How have others tried to fix the problem in the past?
Now you have a complete picture of the prospect’s pain points and how you can provide a specific solution that meets their need.
What you discover from the prospect’s answers may be different than what you anticipated, though. Perhaps the talking points provided beforehand suggested a different pain point. But, live in the meeting, the prospect is identifying their actual problem.
A great salesperson will call an audible by moving away from the pre-meeting notes to concentrate on the acknowledged pain points to align the solution with their need.
Not every prospect fits into a pre-packaged product or solution. Even if 99 out of 100 prospects fall into the category of a company that needs Solution X, this could be the one prospect that actually needs Solution Y.
How to Follow the Overall Game Plan
In summary, here is the game plan for asking the right questions to unlock your prospect’s pain points:
- Be prepared with an open-ended, introductory question.
- Drill down with clarifying questions.
- Ask the 6 Follow-up Questions to discover your prospect’s actual pain points.
Need more insight on uncovering your prospect’s pain points? Learn how ProSales Connection can help your company have more effective sales meetings with qualified prospects using our Sales Appointment Setting program!