FACT: With few exceptions, the best sales people are the ones who ask the best questions.
But not just any question. The questions with the most impact are CONSEQUENCE questions.
What do we mean by ‘consequence’ questions?
The dictionary defines ‘consequence’ as “a result, effect or outcome that follows something.”
CONSEQUENCE questions expand what you have learned about the customer, either through your pre-call research or actively during the call, to identify the possible impact — both negative and positive — of what the customer is experiencing.
These questions are powerful ‘eye openers’ because they help you and the customer realize the implications, financial or non-financial, of continuing what is happening now, or of making a change.
Consequence questions can also be seen as questions that help increase the customer’s sense of urgency.
Great consequence questions might begin like the following:
- What would be the impact on your bottom line if…?
- What benefits do you envision if this issue was resolved?
- If we are able to do this, how much (time, money, effort) would be saved?
- How would your third quarter sales be impacted if…?
- If this trend continues, how would that affect productivity?
Once a customer answers a really well-crafted consequence question, he/she is more likely to seriously consider your product or service. The customer’s answers help drive a ‘compelling reason to act’ as these questions drive the big needs the customer wishes to solve. Coming up with great consequence questions requires YOU to do your homework. You need to have a clear understanding of the customer’s problems, business challenges, worries, wants and needs.
You need to be able to enter the conversation that is already going on in the customer’s mind. For example,
- What business issues is the customer concerned with today?
- What value drivers are important to her?
- What problems does your product or company solve that may be relevant to address these issues?
And if you are able to get answers to these questions by doing your homework, you will be prepared to ask clear, concise, and carefully planned consequence questions. Think about it.