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 into building the discovery questioning skills of your sales team.  Here are 10 reasons why becoming a super star 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 product/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. 

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 Tags: Relationship Marketing Sales Enablement

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