Are You Asking These Sales Discovery Questions?

by | 3 minute read

Has your close rate been low­er than you'd like late­ly? It’s easy to blame the prob­lem on the poor qual­i­ty of cus­tomers who are walk­ing through your front door. The truth is, a low close rate is usu­al­ly close­ly linked to poor dis­cov­ery on your part. That’s the expert opin­ion of C. Lee Smith, pres­i­dent and CEO of Sales­Fu­el. Here’s what you need to do next.

If you’re sell­ing a pricey con­sumer prod­uct like a rid­ing lawn mow­er, it’s worth your time to qual­i­fy the folks, the leads, who vis­it your store. You have a lim­it­ed amount of sell­ing time each day. You can’t afford to give every per­son who comes in a test dri­ve of the mow­er. To opti­mize your prof­itabil­i­ty, plan should spend your time with leads who are most like­ly to turn into prospects.

You can find the best prospects by ask­ing a series of dis­cov­ery ques­tions. The fol­low­ing exam­ples pro­vid­ed by Rob Stef­fens on bluleadz​.com work very well.

The Problem to be Solved

Start out by ask­ing the cus­tomer what prob­lem they are try­ing to solve. Maybe they’ve just moved to a new home and have nev­er before had to mow a lawn. This cus­tomer might not even be sure if a rid­ing or push mow­er is the best option.

You should also ask why the cus­tomer has come to explore the range of mow­ing prod­ucts at this time. Has their exist­ing mow­er bro­ken down? Are they fed up with sky-high bills from the land­scap­er? Do they want their kids to take on a few chores, start­ing with mow­ing the lawn?

Their answers to your ques­tion give you infor­ma­tion on how to pro­ceed. The answers also allow you to build rap­port with the cus­tomer, espe­cial­ly if you can com­mis­er­ate about try­ing to get your kids to do more around the house too.

Purchase History and Profile

Once you have an idea of what the prospect is try­ing to accom­plish, take the next step. The actu­al pur­chase of a rid­ing mow­er or a sim­i­lar piece of expen­sive equip­ment may require a decision-making time frame that lasts sev­er­al days. The con­cept of financ­ing the pur­chase might not be famil­iar to the prospect. Dur­ing the course of your con­ver­sa­tion, find out if the prospect has made such a pur­chase before? If they have, your job could be a lot eas­i­er. If not, be pre­pared to edu­cate them on the details they should be think­ing about.

Above all, let the prospect know you are there to help. When you ask, “how can I make this eas­i­er for you,” the ques­tion serves two pur­pos­es. You’re mak­ing it clear that you’re on their side. And, you’re also dig­ging deep­er into dis­cov­ery to learn oth­er obsta­cles in their path to pur­chase.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-owner of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.