Business Growth Blog

Do you know how to craft compelling questions that uncover your prospect’s pain? That’s what this week’s Fordify Video episode is about— Mastering the Economic Conversation to help you get more sales at higher prices. We’ll cover how to qualify prospects by developing open-ended questions that help you close the sale.

Here’s the problem: you want more sales with higher prices, but many salespeople just don’t know how to craft compelling prospect questions that help qualify the prospect and quantify the value that you really offer.

You see, you’re going to get less price resistance when you have the economic conversation.

Now I’ve got news for you. If you’re in sales, especially if you’re selling high-ticket items, it doesn’t matter what your price point is. They’re always going to say it’s too expensive.

Take, for example, you call into Profit Rich Results to hire me for a business keynote presentation. If you called in, you’d say, “What’s Ford’s “speaking fee for a keynote?” And my office might say (although they know better), “Well, it’s $25,000 for a keynote presentation.” What’s the next sound we’re going to hear? “Click!” Right? You’d hang up because we haven’t established any value yet.

It’s never about price, it’s always about value. 

When they hire me for keynote they aren’t paying me for 60 minutes of my time, their investment in their franchise owners, giving them insights and action plans that will help them elevate their entrepreneurial mindset, improve their marketing and sales performance.  That’s worth way more to their franchise organization than just the $25,000.   This is why it is so important for you, as someone responsible for increasing sales, to uncover opportunities, uncover their pain points, and then ensure that whatever solutions you’re offering are in alignment with what they need from a benefit/solution perspective.

You have to have the economic question conversation to create and uncover the value before you reveal the price.  While this may seem like Selling 101, so many salespeople haven’t mastered the art of asking compelling questions to uncover the prospect’s pain points.   

The questions you ask are going to vary and are dependent upon what you specifically offer, but the tactics are still the same. So, whether you’re new or a top producer, you need to know the importance of using open-ended questions, questions that expand the conversation. These types of questions are a lot less threatening, and they help get the prospect talking.

Open-ended Questions

  • Why…?
  • How…?
  • What…?
  • Describe…
  • Tell me about…
  • What do you think about…?

So you might ask questions like, “What has worked for you in the past?” Or maybe, “What have you already tried?” Then fill in the blank with, you know, the solution area that you work in.

Scale of 1 to 10

Now another great tactic I like with open-ended questions is to ask, “On a scale of 1 to 10…

Recently, I was working with a consulting client, and he was ready to go on a sales call. He called me for some coaching, and I said, “What types of questions are you going to ask?” He did workplace culture training and he said, “Well, I’m going to go in and ask the CEO if he has problems with his teams communicating and if he has a problem with turnover.” And I said, “Well, you don’t want to ask those types of questions, because first of all, it’s going to make the CEO sound stupid if he says, ‘Yes, I’ve got a lot of problems,’ because he’s leading that team. So you’ll get better results if you rephrase that into an open-ended question or a question that gives him a chance to describe more and use a scale.

So I said, “Go back and ask the question, ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “Turnover isn’t a problem” and 1 being “you’re facing an extreme amount of turnover,” how would you rate your level of turnover?

This type of question puts the focus on the issue and not directly on the shoulders of the CEO.  It makes the CEO feel more comfortable. It gets the CEO talking, and it helps uncover their needs.”

So the tactic here is to ask a question on a scale of 1 to 10 and then ask a probing question.

Future Casting

Another great tip is future casting, where you ask the prospect to describe what the future’s going to look like from working together, through your project or by using your product in service. Ask them, “What do you hope to have happened 12 months from now, looking back?” You will invite them to put themselves in a future position and, look back at their desired results after having worked together. This type of question will help you create a vision of what success looks like. This is incredibly important when you’re selling.

Dig into the Negative

You can also ask the prospect questions about the negative side of it. “What would happen if you do nothing about the problem? If you don’t solve this problem?” Or you can take what the prospect’s giving you help them uncover what that problem’s going to be like if you don’t solve it. You might say, “If you don’t solve this particular problem, what’s going to happen? What kind of difficulties are you going to face as you move forward?” Really get them to feel the pain of still having that problem on their hands in the future.

So your action step for this week’s episode is to pick one of your products or services and think about your prospect. Write down at least 10 open-ended, probing questions that you can use to help uncover the prospect’s needs as they relate to value.

Now I want to know, “What is your favorite sales prospecting question?” Let me know in the comments below and share this video and post with anybody who’s in sales. Like what you see? Of course you need to subscribe to be notified of upcoming episodes.

Posted on October 3, 2017 in Sales by Ford Saeks.

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