Everyone has heard how important it is to ask questions in an initial sales call. Not only can the answers provide insight and direction, but the act of questioning allows the customer to talk freely. Remember, no one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy.
Here are ten questions we think are very powerful, and in parentheses, the reasoning behind why they are important.
1. What has been your growth the last three years? (Everyone is challenged to grow. The answer to this question provides powerful insight on how the customer is doing in the markets they serve.)
2. What is your vision for the future? (What does the buyer see as important in the company’s future, what are they focusing on? Knowing their aspirations is powerful.)
3. What has changed most about your business in the last ___ year(s)? (All organizations change. How they respond to and anticipate change will give you insight into the company’s ability to lead and drive growth.)
4. What do your customers most value about your company? (Knowing what customers say allows you to provide solutions aligned with what is currently seen as valuable.)
5. How would you describe the spirit and culture of your team? (This provides terrific insight on the environment that the company promotes. Do they enjoy risk-taking? Are they market leaders or are they followers?)
6. What are the biggest challenges you are facing? (Asking the customer to describe the hurdles they face helps you identify where to focus.)
7. How will these challenges affect you? (Prioritize the possible issues to gain direction on what solution makes sense.)
8. How much will you be impacted financially if this continues? (Provides insight into the financial consequences of a situation and what impact that situation may have on the buyer or the team s/he leads.)
9. What are some of the most exciting opportunities you face in the future? (While understanding challenges surfaces where ‘pain’ exists, equally powerful is understanding what the buyer sees positively in the future.)
10. What is the competition doing that you should be doing? (Understanding how effectively they compete provides powerful insight. This question also helps identify the competitors they have respect for.)
So, there you are. Ten powerful, thought-provoking and insightful questions. Master them, dig deep with them, and they will separate you from other sales pros.