Nearly 40% of sales reps have difficulty moving down prospects down the funnel after they hear a prospect say, “We are happy with the way things are now.” This statistic comes to us from the Voice of the Sales Rep survey conducted by SalesFuel. If this situation sounds familiar, you need to help your sales reps develop their creativity. You can start by coaching your reps to think outside of the box and to ask the right kind of questions.
A manager who needs to develop easily-stymied sales reps should consider the advice of Dr. Hal Gergersen. He suggests that posing a different kind of question can change the results when you and your team members encounter a problem.
First, your reps should understand the purpose of their question. Often, that means they should “reframe the problem.” If a prospect is happy with the status quo, your rep should learn to identify a potential threat and ask the prospect or their opinion on the threat. For example, prospects who suddenly become aware that a competitor has a powerful new partnership might change their mind about whether they are at risk. Their next step might be to consider the solution your rep is offering.
Are you doing all you can to train your reps to ask questions? Maybe not. If your reps come to you complaining that the prospect won’t budge, how do you respond? Some managers might jump in with suggestions. Or they might tell a rep about how they handled a similar situation in the past. It’s much faster to manage this way. This strategy also makes some managers feel valued. But Gergerson’s right when he suggests a different approach – the pause.
When you don't answer right away, the silent space gives your reps time to think. They’ll be encouraged to come up with a suggestion or two on their own. No doubt they’ve been thinking about this problem and want some verification from you that they are on the right track. Listen to what they have to say before you offer any advice.
Regular Coaching Assignment
If your sales reps hesitate to come up with questions on the fly, change your approach. Encourage them to come to their one-on-ones regularly with a list of prepared questions they could use on reluctant prospects.
When your reps start to think about prospects’ problems in a new way, they won’t stall out when they hear the word ‘no.’ They’ll find a creative way to get the prospect to think differently. Their productivity and engagement will rise, and higher sales will be the result.