Trying to sell to people who don’t want to buy is a draining process – both on time, budget and team morale. Therefore, you want your salespeople focusing on those who have the budget and authority to buy, and understand the pain point you can help them address. If your prospects have a pain, they have a need to fix it. And your sales team has the power to ask the right questions to discover the pain as quickly as possible.
Here are four questions to help uncover business ‘pain’.
1. What is your biggest growth challenge?
This question cuts straight to point, but gives you a quick overview of what matters to the business and what the biggest obstacle is to growth – which is a pain for most businesses. This question also helps build a relationship with prospects so salespeople can help to understand the business better. The biggest challenge usually involves revenues, customers, internal issues or financial challenges. To get more information following this question, follow up with questions such as ‘how do you plan to tackle this challenge’, ‘how urgent is your need to address this pain’, ‘who is responsible for addressing this challenge’? This line of questioning will really help you learn a lot about your prospect’s pain points and opportunities to help. Also, you can ask ‘besides you, who needs to be involved in this decision’? That will help ascertain who is in the decision process, without insulting the person you are speaking to.
2. What takes up your most time in the day?
This question focuses specifically on the prospect you are speaking with. Use it to find out about their personal challenges, and focus the conversation around values rather than features. This question will help connect with the prospect on a more personal level. You can discuss in more detail about the impact solving this challenge would result in – how much time would be saved? How would their team benefit? How would it help them do their job better?
3. Why are we not closing more deals?
This is a question for your internal sales team. Losing deals doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you learn from it. The question is always ‘why’? Work out why you are losing deals. Is your product or service too expensive? Are you speaking to the wrong prospect within the company? Are you lacking in certain features? Does your offering actually solve the pain points you most often come across? Use this information to shape your sales pitch and targeting.
4. What is discussed by senior management and what are the business objectives?
This is a question for if you are speaking with a senior manager or someone in the leadership team. Use this to identify the real pain that keeps the leadership team up at night. The pain that really needs to be addressed if the business is to continue as usual. Find out what is on the quarterly planning objectives, what regularly comes up at management meetings, what the biggest business risks are and so on. That information is the real pain you are searching for. Find it and you have the holy grail.
Once you’ve discovered business pain, you can use that information to build trust. You’ll also shorten the sales cycle and improve conversion rates as you can more quickly ascertain who the decision maker is and if the business has the budget.