Just the other day, I was at a program where a sales trainer told the audience to ask prospects probing questions.
Do you like to be probed?
I sure don’t, and it’s even more annoying when a sales person probes aimlessly. I can’t tell you how many old-school sales trainers have told me to just ask probing questions.
Yes, we should ask our prospects questions, but don’t just ask any questions to probe the prospect. Have a specific goal in mind when you ask questions.
That goal should be to understand the prospect’s challenges with regards to what you do. So if you sell marketing services, your goal should be to understand a prospect’s marketing challenges. If you sell chemicals, then you want to understand the challenges with regards to their chemical use or purchasing.
Prospects, like all people, want to be understood, but they don’t want to be probed. Ultimately, the difference between the two is that asking questions to understand a prospect’s challenges has a clear goal, whereas just probing is asking questions without a clear sense of where to go from there.
Like I always mention in my sales keynote speeches, think like a doctor. The doctor asks good questions like, “Tell me about the what’s going on,” or, “Tell me more about what is hurting.”
These questions elicit a detailed response, which is what we as sales people want. The more you understand a prospect’s challenges, the more he will trust that you are qualified to offer a solution. Plus, if the prospect turns out to not have challenges you solve, then you can cut bait quickly and move on to the next prospect without much time invested.
What types of questions do you ask to understand your prospects’ challenges? Please share below.
Written by Marc Wayshak, author of the book Game Plan Selling, which shares the sales system developed through his sales training in Boston.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.