A well-prepared sales rep always has a greater chance of landing a sale than those who aren’t. So, how should your sales reps prepare for a sales call? Start by asking them the right questions to get them thinking about their next appointment from a more strategic perspective.
1. How did you demonstrate credibility with the decision maker?
What words and resources did you use to present yourself as a trusted business advisor to the buyer? How did you demonstrate low risk and high value? Listen for your sales rep to be specific in their answers, such as providing testimonials or case studies, demonstrating the depth of their business knowledge and product knowledge, asking quality questions, etc. This will open up opportunities for you to coach and support their credibility efforts.
2. What questions did you ask?
Did you bring a set of prepared questions that are written and logical for this sales call? Are they relatable to the prospect or customer’s situation? Are they problem, solution, and business-focused questions? Do they help you determine the validity of the sales opportunity? Will they help you make a legitimate, on-target recommendation of our products and services?
3. What are the buyer’s three primary wants?
That’s wants, not needs. Needs are easier to identify, but you’re looking for motives for buying – anything from the buyer’s pain points to their desire for personal gain. Whatever the wants may be, is your sales rep considering how to sell to the buyer’s wants? For example, the executive may need a new service contract. What they want is a guarantee not to look bad in front of their boss if the system crashes. They want to look smart to their boss because they were thinking ahead with a new service contract to mitigate risk.
4. How qualified is this opportunity?
Unqualified buyers buy little – if anything at all. Is your sales rep attempting to sell to unqualified buyers? Does your sales rep have a defined set of characteristics of a qualified buyer – authority, budget, time frame, basic needs, credit? Do they have prepared questions associated with each characteristic? Without a concrete plan for determining the level of qualification of a buyer, your sales reps are rolling the dice on who will and who won’t buy. In most cases, your reps will fill their pipelines with prospects based on perceived emotional connections, not facts.
5. How did you differentiate our solution from our competitors’ solutions?
Knowing your sales rep will compete with other reps and companies, make them explain how they will separate themselves from the other salespeople vying for the prospect’s business. Look for more than just product or service differentiation. Ask how your sales rep will create value for the prospect to buy their talent instead of just your product or service.
6. Who are the influencers participating in making the decision?
You want to know how your sales reps will create account depth. How will they gain access to as many people involved in the decision as possible? How will they extract each person’s personal agenda in the buying decision? Help them network within an account in order to gain insights from multiple sources.
7. What is the benefit to the buyer if he or she buys from us?
Is your salesperson prepared to make a financial case for why the prospect should do business with your company? Is the buyer attempting to reduce cost? Increase margin? Improve productivity? Reduce downtime? Increase sales? Expand market share? Reduce turnover? Increase efficiency? Reduce head count? Regardless of the financial impact, is your sales rep asking the right questions and framing their presentation to satisfy the buyer’s financial objectives?
Adopting these seven questions into your coaching sessions will boost your sales rep’s level of awareness and quality of preparation. In time, you’ll find this leads to more confident salespeople and better outcomes.