The best sales reps know how to ask questions. Particularly during the lead discovery phase, good questions can keep you from pursuing the wrong prospects. They can also keep the conversation going with prospects you’d like to pursue. Looking back on his own experience with vendors, RingDNA’s Kanwar Saluja writes that the most memorable reps “ask highly targeted, open-ended sales discovery questions and get prospects to open up about budget, authority, timeline, needs, and much more.” And those other reps? They simply didn’t listen, and instead, launched into a pitch as soon as the conversation began.
In his article, Saluja shares with readers 30 questions that they should consider asking. Some may already be part of your discovery process, while others may be ones you’ve not yet considered. Saluja organizes them by the type of information they uncover; this will help you decide the best time to ask each one. He also prefaces each section with a brief explanation as to why the information being gathered is important.
Below are his suggestions for questions that will help you establish a timeline, as well as how your solution would be implemented:
- In an ideal world, when would you imagine yourself implementing this solution?
- Do you have a current solution in place? If so, when is your current contract up?
- Does your team have the time and resources in place necessary to handle implementation?
Another set of questions deals with uncovering who has the authority to make purchase decisions. “Part of sales discovery should include discerning who has buying power, as well as the prospective company’s buying process,” Saluja explains. “In B2B deals its common for there to be multiple stakeholders. Therefore, it’s crucial to discover who these stakeholders are and what factors may be important to them.” He suggests asking the following:
- In addition to yourself, who else at your company is facing these problems?
- Are there any issues that other stakeholders may be concerned with?
- What's your purchasing process?
Check out all 30 questions that he shares and decide which ones fit best into your own discovery strategy.