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By: Brian Marriott, P1 Learning
Sales opportunities don’t just spring up out of thin air. You have to uncover them. If you aren’t prepared to ask the right questions, they could be precious opportunities lost.
Finding the problem will lead you to the best solution for your client. Here are four important reminders when uncovering leads.
1. Build trust and rapport
Nobody likes to be interrogated with questions; it can make them uncomfortable – or even worse- defensive. Start the meeting casually, as if you were meeting with friends, but don’t be overly familiar or waste their time. People like doing business with people they know, like and trust. Let the prospect know the purpose of your questions – they should see that you’re trying to genuinely understand their business and determine if there’s a solution that your company can offer.
2. Ask the right questions at the right time
Have a list of questions prepared before the meeting, but don’t be a slave to your script. Their answers to your questions will likely bring up follow-up questions. By being prepared in advance, you can shift the conversation in the direction that will uncover their true need. Remember to always ask open-ended questions (who, what, when, where, why, how). Questions that can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ won’t necessarily get you the information you need – you don’t want to limit their ability to answer in any way. Take notes, it’s a sign that you’re truly interested and engaged.
3. Dig deeper
Once you’ve uncovered areas of opportunity, continue to ask questions, repeating some of the words that they’ve used to show that you are listening and understand what they are really saying. Delve into the opportunity and continue to ask open-ended questions. In fact, remember to Always Ask Why (AAW). If your customer is opening up about their biggest challenges, don’t be afraid to follow up with something like, “why is that?”, “why has this not been fixed already?”, or “why is this a priority now?”. The more they talk, the more you’ll learn.
4. Summarize and set the stage
Once you’ve uncovered the opportunity, state it to your prospect clearly – again, trying to use as many of their words as possible. Confirm that you ‘got it right’ and then suggest how you could help solve this problem. Most often than not it’s okay if you don’t have an immediate solution. Tell your prospect that you need a day or two to reflect, but get back with them in a timely fashion. Then, once you both agree that your solution may be a fit, set a clear expectation of what happens next.
It’s one thing to assume you have their needs, it’s another to know you do. Time is precious, and your chances of getting the right deal from a qualified buyer requires the right questions from the get-go. Go deeper into discovering your client’s needs by logging into P1 Learning today and watching the course, Conducting the Needs Assessment.
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