Selling is a complicated skill and sales managers are always trying to find the key skills to focus on when managing their teams for success. Every aspect of your particular selling process is important and weakness in one area will naturally reduce your closing percentage.
But the most important step in the selling process is discovery questioning. Many call this the needs analysis step but just determining the need is not enough.
As a sales manager, if you want to improve your service/product presentation, build deeper relationships with prospects or clients, and close more business, then focus the lion’s share of your energy on building the discovery questioning skills of your sales team.
Here are 10 reasons why becoming a superstar at discovery is worth the time and effort.
Great Discovery Questions achieve the following:
1. Help the prospect see problems or challenges they didn’t realize existed – broadening your possible solution.
2. Frames the conversation around solutions and creates the image that your company solves problems not just pushes products or services.
3. Determines how to customize your service/product presentation – focusing on the benefits and solutions that are the most relevant and most important to the customer.
4. Establishes the salesperson’s credibility by demonstrating their understanding of the prospect’s industry or market.
5. Provides an opportunity to assess the prospect’s buying and communication style so presentations and proposals are targeted to how they wish to receive and process information.
6. Uncovers the decision criteria and decision-makers.
7. Establishes the consequences for the prospect of not acting.
8. Gives you a glimpse of the potential objections and gives you the opportunity to answer them early in the conversation.
9. Explores the value and/or importance of solving the problem.
10. Begins the closing process very early in the conversation – closing becomes a foregone conclusion.
Great discovery questions fall into four categories:
Circumstance questions collect data and facts
Challenge questions reveal problems, challenges, and dissatisfactions
Consequence questions explore the consequences or implications of a problem
Value - Benefit questions uncover the value of solving the problem and the urgency to do so
As a sales leader, the best use of your time is in coaching your team for excellence and by improving the team’s discovery skills you’ll increase your closing percentage and increase revenue – the ultimate goal of any company.
Shelley Hall, Principal of Catalytic Management, LLC, is a highly successful entrepreneur and corporate fugitive who has built, reinvented, and turned around companies for the past 20 years.
About the Author
Maureen Condon, PMG Principal
Before Maureen Condon became one of the Principals of PMG in 2006, she was a writer and a business owner – which explains why she specializes in content marketing and strategy. Covering topics that will help businesses get real, measured results from marketing – success you can see in numbers – Maureen likes to back companies in their efforts to create a strategy, a compelling message, and programs that connect with prospects, clients and influencers in ways that drive sales. And she does so, with panache!