There’s one search happening on Google that seems to bring a fair amount of traffic to The Sales Corner. The search is “Sales Probing Questions.” The people searching these terms are generally looking for information on how to establish the correct questions to ask their customers. They are looking for magic tools to help them decide what are the right questions or not. I wish I could tell you what questions always work, but the truth is that you have to deal with a lot of trial and error in any sales environment.
The goal is to increase sales or marketing visibility. In order to do this effectively you need to remain in constant production. The problem is that a lot of sales people, don’t know how to go about this in a way that’s beneficial, and doesn’t waste their time, or the customers time. Often times they get burned out. Look no further because we can help you on your search!
I say to you that you need to evaluate your sales territory and think about it. Organize it. Treat it like you treat your dog, or your cat, or someone around you that you may enjoy, show it appreciation and “tlc”. If you feed the fire in any environment that fire is bound to grow. The same is said when it comes to determining your territories Sales Probing Questions. The same holds true for sales pipelines (or sales funnels..) you just keep it growing. The business will close as long as the other pieces are going correctly.
Here are five Sales Probing Questions below that you can use to immediately start to impact your customer relationships. As a sales rep I pride myself on knowing my customers and what their problems are, and what makes them happy. You’ll find benefit in the same!
1) What kind of budget do you have for your project?
In sales, it’s always good to know what the budget looks like to know what your going against or not. Often times, customer under budget
their projects due to lack of information or knowledge about a problem they have. Quickly they come back asking for lower pricing off
your quote. You’ll find that being up front to capture this information ahead of time and be prepared for it when it comes up later with the
customer. At that point you can address it professionally and hopefully do what’s right for both of you! (Don’t “drop your pants” or “leave
money on the table” just because a customer asks for it. First, make sure it’s justified, if not, say so and then explain why.)
2) What kind of installation or implementation time frame do you have for this project?
If you dont know how this can be important, a question like this can prepare you to meet or not meet a goal or delivery expectation.
Sometimes when you don’t understand what a customer’s expectations are for deadlines, you can miss them, or worse yet, have the
customer calling you to cancel orders. Perhaps even the dreaded “I won’t be back!” responses! Ick! Don’t let this be you and make sure you
know what needs to be accomplished and in what time frame. You’ll find that this helps extremely well when it comes to preparation of
sales orders or team efforts!
3) Are there any other technical or non technical people that would like to discuss this project and finalize it?
This question applies because you have to know who’s calling the shots, signing the checks, and paying your bills. You need to befriend
these people. Why? Because they give you orders, and orders are sales. Your customers (no matter if it’s a sales manager, or a CEO) they
are your business. They have a need and you address it for them. Keep informed about who’s who in your sales opportunities when it’s
coming down to close time. The last thing you want is a strung out PO because you have to convince the signer it’s the best price or a sole
4) Ask if you can follow up in a week or two. (Establish some future contact…)
This is an open door. Need I say more? Okay. If you have an expectation that you’ll be contacting someone in the future, then you should
feel good about that! The customer would agree that you should too! Before you hang up your next call, or stop the last signature on the
email, stop and make sure to address with your customer or prospect a follow up time with them. Something at THEIR convenience! If your
schedule conflicts, tell them so, but let them pick a new date. (PS. SALES TOP POINTER: Lead with some open dates that you have available
and times for the meeting. Use 3 or 4. You’ll likely get one with that customer!)
5) Ask your customer what they have planned!
What better way for you to help identify and open doors then by being in the know about what your customers plans and incentives are!
There are many many ways to sell. By being in the front of the trench, and not behind the shooters, you’re going to get your hands into
more then you might count on in the beginning. By asking your customer what their future plans are, you are gaining extremely valuable
insight as to what you can do and expect from them in the future. This could mean new technology pushes, IT changes, staff upgrades, or
many other things for you to go “sell into!”
Well all, I hope these have helped you gain some additional insight to going down a good path of identifying your sales probing questions. Keep in mind a lot of what works in sales and marketing is trial and error. What works today might not work tomorrow. If you stick to that kind of thinking, you’ll always be on your toes to finding new ways to grab your customers attention. That’s what it’s about in the end.
I wish you the best of luck. Please feel free to contact myself here at The Sales Corner if you’d like some further insight to Sales needs you may have.
The Sales Corner
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