One of the most common words a salesperson hears is “maybe”, but wouldn’t it be great if you could change it to “yes”? If you’re nearing the finish line with your prospect, and they turn around with a “we’ll think about it”, it can be pretty discouraging, especially if it becomes a regular occurrence. So, what can you do differently to take your sale over the finish line and win the gold? Take a look at these three questioning strategies that will help you close the sale…
Questioning Strategy Part 1: Figure Out Your Prospects Pain
When figuring out your prospects’ pain, I don’t mean determining whether they’ve got a bad shoulder or not (unless you’re selling a product that cures shoulder pain), I mean finding out what problem they actually have that you can solve for them, or if they even have one. In this situation, you need to do some clever digging and subtly find out more about them whilst answering their questions. For example, if you’re selling windows to a homeowner and they ask what products you do and what you’d recommend, you might be tempted to list them all off, along with the features and benefits, but DON’T. This strategy sucks. See this as an opportunity to gather information of your own, by responding with something that keeps the conversation going. An example of a reply could be, “Thanks for your enquiry. We have a wide variety of windows available, it would take me a long time to list them off. Could you please be a bit more specific about what you’re looking for so I can help?”. Hopefully, in a few back and forth responses with your prospect, they will start to explain in more detail why they need new windows, hopefully uncovering their pain. The main thing to remember is, every time they reveal a bit more information, make sure to answer with a question of your own until you get deep enough to discover the true pain. It’s quite common that a salesperson will have to ask multiple questions, in fact, it typically takes three or more before the prospect reveals their pain, so don’t give up, even though it’s a bit of a pain sometimes…
Relieving The Pain By Reliving
Okay, so you might be thinking, “why do they want their prospect to be in so much pain” but that’s not what we’re doing here. In order to sell a product or service, you have to discover the emotional gap between where this person is and where they want to be. In order to relieve their pain, your prospect has to relive it on a personal level, but it’s not always straightforward getting to this point. To ensure you’re on the right track, you can use something called the “Pain-O-Meter”. This is a simple yet effective process that consists of four main questioning areas: Surface-level problem, impact on family/team, personal impact and emotional pain/buying zone. You might be one of the lucky people who skip straight to the emotional pain, but the likelihood is you’ll have to question your way from a surface-level problem. This means asking all the right questions at the right stage, a key element within any social selling strategy. A surface-level problem could touch on several different solutions, products or services that might be needed, so you still need to dig further. Your conversation needs to move to a level where your prospect becomes emotionally involved and feeling pain (not literally, we aren’t monsters). This will result in the pain being uncovered and the prospect being in the “buying zone”, where you can then move on to asking about the budget of the prospect etc.
What Is The Pain Costing Them
Everyone cares about money, and if your prospects’ pain is actually costing them, you want them to know about it. It’s time to delve deeper into proven statistics, facts and figures that will show your prospect what they’re losing and could continue to lose in the future if they don’t make a change (aka, buying from you). When people see their pain in terms of how much money they’re losing, it’s going to provoke a negative response, whether that’s frustration, anger or sadness, at the end of the day they all fall into the category of pain. Long story short, pain compels people to buy. Not only have you got to show them a financial loss, you also have to uncover how the prospect feels about that (not good, I’m presuming). Infact, if you don’t start using these three questioning strategies, you’ll lose sales. Your decision not to use them will end up costing you a whole lot of money! See what I did there, I’m good at this, huh?
Closing a sale is easier said than done, but implementing these three questioning strategies into your process is bound to get things moving in the right direction. If you’re fed up of hearing “maybe next time”, “I’ll think about it”, or just a straight up “no thank you” (sometimes even without the thank you), then what are you waiting for? Give them a go!