You are about to have a first meeting with a prospect. You have researched the company and the individual you are calling on and you believe you have a high-level awareness of the business issues they are facing, or potentially where you might be able to help. You have opened the call and set the tone for your meeting. NOW WHAT? Should your objective be to ask open-ended questions and see where it takes you, or should you be more strategic in what you are trying to learn?
Our research on the best salespeople, the Rainmakers, suggests they are indeed more strategic. They EXPLORE four areas in the beginning of a relationship:
Facts about their Situation – The customer expects that you have done your due diligence, and researched their background and current status. This call is where you clarify what you have learned in your research, and gain details on the customer’s situation, the big picture, and where they want to go as a company.
Problems / Issues they are facing – Once you have a high level understanding, your questions now need to push deeper, to give you a better understanding of the problems and challenges they are facing. The more the customer is able to describe those challenges and business issues, the more you will be able to identify areas where you might help. And if you are able to establish the financial impact of their current situation, the more opportunity will ultimately be presented where you can add value.
Opportunities They See – While most customers like to solve ‘problems’ first, it is equally important to understand their vision for their future, particularly as it relates to growth, trends and competition. By exploring these areas, you will be able to identify what the customer values, and possible needs you can address with your solutions.
How They Compete – Finally, investing time in understanding who they compete with, and how they compete is powerful. Competition is fierce today and if you are able to provide solutions that help the customer become more competitive, you will provide ways in which they can differentiate themselves and provide more value to the customer.
Are you a RAINMAKER? Are you disciplined in following these focus areas in your questioning strategies?
Think about it.