By now you should know (hopefully) that sales are more about asking questions and listening to your prospects than it is about talking. If you didn’t know that before reading this article then you no longer have an excuse. The days of pushy and overbearing salespeople are coming to a close, and salespeople who work hard to advocate for their customers will be the only ones left standing.
However, listening on its own isn’t usually enough, you also need to discover how you can help your prospects while building their trust. You can do this by simply asking the right questions! But don’t just stick to the same old script. It helps to ask questions that will not only help you get more information but will differentiate you from other salespeople. Here are seven unexpected questions to ask every prospect:
1. Can I tell you a little more about me?
While it’s true that people are much more interested in talking about themselves than they are in hearing about you, it’s also important that they understand who it is they’re working with. By telling them more about you and your background you can build rapport and trust, especially if you’re able to do it with transparency and sincerity. Tell them about yourself and your company, but try to do it without rambling on and losing their attention.
2. Why do you think that is?
“Why,” is an open-ended question and is critical to getting your prospects to open up and go into detail. When this happens, it allows you to find out information you otherwise wouldn’t have, and usually, you can use that information as a map on how to close the deal. It’s always better to ask open-ended and unexpected questions than yes or no questions.
3. If you were your competitor, what would you do?
This is definitely one of the most unexpected questions, but it’s great to ask, assuming you’re not selling a B2C product. By asking this question, you’re allowing your prospect to think about things from a different angle, which not only will help you differentiate yourself from other options, but it will likely produce a “perfect” solution that you can then tailor your approach around accordingly.
4. What is worrying you the most about this?
This question can apply both to your prospect’s problem as well as to any concerns they might have about moving forward, so feel free to ask in both circumstances. This allows you to discover problems you can address that might have been overlooked and also uncover any concerns that need to be overcome. However, be careful about bringing this up if things are going well because you don’t want to create objections for yourself.
5. Can you describe the perfect situation/solution?
Again, asking this question will make the prospect highlight the most important aspects of what they’re looking for and will allow you to custom tailor your pitch accordingly. It will also show the prospect that you care about their needs and are looking to make them as happy as possible.
6. Should I stop calling you?
Ask this question only when things aren’t going very well in your follow-ups. And only ask this question if you’re ready to move on. It’s better to know where you stand than to keep wasting your time on deals that aren’t going to pan out, so if you keep getting blown off then ask your prospect if it’s time for you to move on. Your question might catch them by surprise and they could express their interest or lack thereof to you.
7. Have I asked you everything that’s important to know?
This is a great question to ask toward the end of your conversation because it gets the prospect to think a little more deeply about their situation and could uncover some important factors to guide the sales process forward. It also shows that you’re a professional that’s concerned with the other party, and not just looking to get into your sales pitch.