There are several make-or-break points during that first discovery call to a potential client. First, you have to know who you’re calling so you’re sure you’re talking to a decision maker who can potentially benefit from your products or services. The second, and most important, are the questions you ask. The best are open-ended questions, or as HubSpot’s Bill Cates likes to refer to them, high-value questions.
“Simply stated, a high-value question for sales is one that creates a learning experience for either the questioner (you), the person being questioned (your prospect or client), or both,” says Cates. You’re not going to learn much about your prospect by asking questions that result in yes or no answers. You need to ask questions that allow the prospect to give detailed answers.
Effectively using open-ended questions may not come as easily to salespeople as it does to Cates. Luckily, he gives some tips on how best to utilize these questions. Here’s one:
Start your discovery calls with an open-ended question.
Talking at a prospect instead of with them, especially right off the bat, is a fantastic way to get them to zone out. You need to start a conversation that will immediately get them involved and pique their interest. How do you do that? Begin with an open-ended question. Cates recommends trying these:
- What are your top business goals right now?
- How do you feel about your current (insert your product or service) set-up?
Conversation is bound to stem from these questions and will prompt more open-ended questions from you and, perhaps, from your prospect as well. Open-ended questions start conversation. Conversation aids in discovery and the beginnings of business relationships. Knowledge and relationships lead to sales. So, at the end of the day, open-ended questions = sales.
Test it out for yourself. For more help utilizing these discovery tools, check out Cates other two tips in his HubSpot article.