Don’t Ask: What’s Your Problem?
Yesterday I said that the purpose of asking Problem Questions in the Discovery Phase of the Sales Process is to Uncover whether there are Compelling Reasons for your Prospect to make a Change. If your prospect doesn’t have any of the problems that you solve, he/she will not make a change.
This morning I want to talk about “How” to ask these Problem Questions because this is critically important. You must be very careful about how you ask Problem Questions. You do not want to come across as assuming that the prospect is having problems. If you do, you will appear to be making assumptions about the Prospect’s situation when, in fact, you do not yet know whether the Prospect has these problems.
You must ask questions about these issues without an “angle.” In other words, ask the question objectively. You really don’t know if the prospect has this problem, so don’t assume that he does in the way you ask the question.
This is also important because you don’t want to back yourself into a corner by assuming that the prospect is having a problem with this issue only to discover that this is not a problem. Ask the question as if you have no idea whether this is a problem, because you don’t. Let’s say that one of your features is that your company provides timely service. This solves the customer’s problem of lost production due to down time. How might you ask the question without any “angle”?
Here’s an example:
Problem Question: Mr. Jones, I’m curious whether you have had any issues related to lost production due to downtime?
If they say, “Yes,” ask: “Can you tell me a little more about that?”
If they say, “No,” you can simply say, “Okay, I was just curious.”
Notice that the way the question is formulated does not assume that this prospect has dealt with this issue. If they respond by saying that it has not been an issue, you have not boxed yourself into the corner.
While interacting with a prospect, it is very important to understand that the prospect may NOT have a need for your product/ service at this time. This statement may seem counterproductive since you are in the business of selling stuff. However, upon further examination, this understanding actually enables you to be more efficient with your time.
Here’s how Problem Questions help you direct your Efforts and save Time: If you assume that every prospect needs your solution, you will spend lots of time and energy chasing after every prospect in order to sell them your solution. However, if you understand that some prospects may not need your solution at this time, you are freed up to spend more time with prospects who may need your solution.
By the way, that’s a lot more fun anyway. Who wants to bug people who have already told you that they don’t need your stuff? Isn’t it more enjoyable to talk with people who DO need your stuff? This is why it is important to ask the Problem Questions objectively.
If you want to learn more about asking Problem Questions, join our free online workshop THIS AFTERNOON, Thursday, Feb 8th from 3:00 – 4:00 pm, to learn more about asking Problem Questions.
What are the questions you need to be asking to uncover compelling reasons why your prospects need to do business with you?
“Can Asking Great Questions be the Answer?”
Register Here: Workshop Registration
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2. How to Leverage LinkedIn to Get Introduced to Ideal Prospects
3. Top Ten Tips to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile
4. Top Seven Business Growth Strategies for B2B Professional Service Providers