Ask Questions to Ensure Your Sales Team is Slowing Down
Last week we took a look at how you and your sales teams can improve on their effective listening skills, and in return increase their sales. Many clients that we see at Intelligent Conversations rush straight to the proposal phase, without taking the time to discover enough compelling reasons to create urgency for the deal. When this happens the client is rushed along, and may not have the ability to build a strong internal case needed for approval and funding.
As a CEO or Sales Manager one of the main things you can do is sit down with your team and ask them to review their pipeline with you. To do this, there are some key questions you can ask to identify if these opportunities are really as strong as they believe.
What sort of questions should I ask my sales team?
Ask questions to poke, probe and challenge whether they can defend their probability of closing prediction.
Here are a few questions to help you get started, please feel free to add your own questions that fit your industry or business.
- Tell me about the business problem our proposal will solve for this prospect:
- How long has it been an issue for this company? When did they first notice it?
- What have they done to try to address it? How has that worked?
- How much did that cost them?
- What happens if they don’t address this issue?
- How will it impact them financially? Lost sales? Increased cost? Missed opportunities? Upset customers? Damage to their reputation? Key employees leaving?
- What will the impact be on their operations if this isn’t fixed? How does this slow down their workflow? Does it require people to do things they shouldn’t need to do? What would those people being doing if they were not working on this issue? Does it impact quality? Are their regulatory issues?
- Who are all the people at the prospect that care about this issue?
- Tell me about the roles and responsibilities for everyone you’ve met with for this opportunity.
- Who could lose their job if this doesn’t get fixed?
- Are you talking to the right people or are you calling where you’re comfortable?
- When you agreed to prepare a proposal for them, what timeframe did they give you for their decision process?
- Did you set up a meeting to review the proposal or did you just send it over?
- What are the next steps?
- Who else are they considering? How do we stack up against this competitor?
Keep asking them questions.
Many of the sales people who have attended our Must Win Deal workshops can’t handle this rapid questioning. They quickly realize that they went through the discovery stage of the sales process way too fast. They didn’t ask enough or the right questions. They didn’t explore all the issues. They didn’t quantify all of the compelling reasons to change. They didn’t meet with all the key stakeholders. They missed a lot of critical information.
Have your sales people slow down during the early and mid-stage sales meetings. Ensure that your sales team is having meetings, and take the opportunity to probe them and coach them around this issue. Have them ask more and better questions. Have them invest more time in the conversations at these earlier stages, and you will see a tremendous improvement in the quality of the late stage opportunities in your sales pipeline.
If you’re interested in learning how our half-day Must Win Deal workshop can sharpen your sales funnel, please contact us to learn more and find out if it’s right for your situation.