Top 10 Questions for Qualifying Prospects
By Alex Cole
- Tell me more about that.
- What has to happen today so that you feel that this was a great meeting?
- What have you done to fix it?… and that didn’t work?
- What happens if you don’t fix it?
- How much is this problem costing you?
- When you spoke to your current provider, what did they say?
- Who else has to fall in love with the idea of our doing business together?
- Suppose we can fix your problem, within your budget and time constraints and meet your needs, what happens then?”
- Is this a WANT to fix problem or a HAVE to fix problem?
- But not today?
Play The Sales Brew:
By Alex Cole, Recruiting Specialist, Hire Better Salespeople
When prospecting, you have to ask questions to gain information to see if that prospect qualifies to do business with you and if you qualify to do business with them. So, I have compiled a list of my top 10 favorite qualifying questions to ask prospects to help you gain information and drill down on what’s really important.
- “Tell me more about that.”– Now, I realize I’m starting with a statement and not a question right off the bat, but trust me, this statement makes your job a lot easier. Assuming you have uncovered some problem or issue, simply asking “tell me more” will give the prospect another opportunity to disclose another component to the problem.
- “What has to happen today so that you feel that this was a great meeting?” – Most salespeople start off a meeting by going right into their own objectives – what they would like to get accomplished. They aren’t typically thinking about how the prospect may have an agenda of their own.
- “What have you done to fix it?” – This can give you an idea of the steps they have already taken before you were brought in. The next question is always “and that didn’t work?” Obviously, they wouldn’t be talking with you if it had; but you want your prospect to get emotionally involved in the conversation, and this will help you do just that.
- “What happens if you don’t fix it?” – In order for change to occur, the pain of not changing has to be greater than the pain of changing. So, by asking this question, you are attempting to uncover pain that would motivate them to take action.
- “How much is this problem costing you?” – Money is a sensitive subject. If you help them uncover the true debt this problem is causing, they are more likely to want to find a solution and that’s where you come in!
- “When you spoke to your current provider, what did they say?” – Most of the time, the answer is going to be something like “well, I haven’t” which then the only proper response is “well, why not?” We have found that when it comes to making a decision, if the current vendor and your firm have the same solution to the problem for the same price, the prospect will almost certainly stick with their current provider. It’s just easier that way. So, you need to uncover their previous discussions with their current vendor as soon as possible so you aren’t wasting anyone’s time.
- “Who else has to fall in love with the idea of our doing business together?” – The part where most salespeople find themselves stuck is at the close when they are looking for a decision from the prospect and the prospect states that they have to bring in their partner or go to a board for approval. Uncover all the decision makers at the beginning or you’ll find yourself doing way more work than is necessary and possibly losing the deal all together.
- “Suppose we can fix your problem, within your budget and time constraints and meet your needs, what happens then?” – The magic word in this question is “suppose”. You aren’t making any promises to the prospect, but you are putting them in a position to make a decision.
- “Is this a WANT to fix problem or a HAVE to fix problem?” – Some prospects will just have “issues” that are more of an annoyance than anything. Others will have “compelling reasons” to change their current situation. If you get anything other than “this is a HAVE to fix problem”, walk away or put that prospect in the 6-month check-in rolodex.
- And finally, “But not today?” This question falls right after the one previously. This puts the prospect in a position to decide if they have a need to move forward with you or not.
So, there ya go- my top 10 favorite qualifying questions for prospects to help gain you information on what’s really important.