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Asking the RIGHT questions

To ask the right question is already half the solution of a problem

When it comes to helping people buy what you sell, the old adage “If I say it they’ll doubt it, but if they say it, then it must be true” really is the key.  Asking the RIGHT questions allows the prospect to uncover their own ‘case for change’ and in doing so, see you as a strategic business partner, and someone who has their best interests at heart.  

Here’s 75 questions that will help you adopt a consultative ‘prescription before diagnosis’ approach to your sales calls. The sequence is simply to help you remember the acronym RIGHT,  there is no need to follow the sequence.  Use this list to identify 12-15 questions that work for you and practice them until they become a habit that serves you well.  

Reassure questions are designed to help your buyer accept that their problem won’t solve itself and that you and your company are a great choice to partner up with.

So that I don’t duplicate what you might know, would you mind sharing what you already know about our company?

Aside from the fact that we obviously do serve similar clients in your market, is there another reason why you chose to consider us?

  • Could you tell me what it was that did it for you?

What’s currently going on in your business that’s prompted you to get in touch?

What was the initial trigger for deciding to kick-off this project?

 How did you ultimately come to the conclusion that you need to address this?

What conclusions have you come to about the problem/opportunity you’re trying to solve/achieve?

  • Which of these would you put at the top of your priority list?

What steps have you already taken to address this?

  • How’s that working out for you?

How long have you been facing this problem/dealing with these challenges?

  • Any reason why you’ve held off taking action until now?

What do others in the company say about this issue?

  • Is everyone aligned or are there differences of opinion?

How would you react if I told you there was a better way to solve this?

Fast-forward to the conclusion of the project, what needs to have happened for you to be reassured that selecting us was the right choice?

Impact questions shift the conversation from making sales, and onto sound business advice – ask these and your prospect will decide if they need to take action.

How much emphasis do you place on OTIF (on-time, in-full) when selecting a provider?

  • Is ‘service’ your no.1 purchasing driver?
    • (Irrespective of a Yes or No answer) Why do you say that?

If I asked you to choose between quality or service, which one takes priority?

  • What makes you say that?

What’s the primary reason for addressing this now?

How much scope do you have to delay progressing things?

How urgent is this?

Are there negative consequences for the business if the project isn’t delivered successfully?

  • Does that have a negative impact on you too?

What are the wider-concerns for the business if things aren’t addressed?

How is this currently impacting your supply chain, both up and down-stream?

  • Can you put a value on that?

Let’s pretend you do nothing and stay put, is that also an option?

  • What makes you say that?

Where do you see the biggest need for improvement is?

Could you give me a ballpark figure on what you think this issue might have cost the business over the last 12 months?

Growth questions help your prospect build a case for change by allowing them to see the future.This is essential for creating budget and gaining consensus to act.

What does success look like for your business?

  • How do you quantify that?
    • What financial value does that add up to?

Fast-forward 6-months after you’ve resolved things, looking around, what’s happening in your business?

  • What are the KPIs (key performance indicators) that measure that?

How will your business benefit in the future following a successful delivery of this project?

Which areas of your business will benefit?

  • Which one is the most important in your opinion?
    • Why do you say that?

Do you see an upside for your customers as a consequence?

  • How specifically will they benefit?

What value will this deliver to the wider supply chain and your ability to improve your service and quality?  

I’m curious to know what success means to you personally, is that something you’ve thought about?

What will this mean for company morale?

What will this mean for company reputation?

Hijack questions work by identifying and mitigating the risk of failure in advance. Solve potential problems now, not leave them hiding, and kill the deal later.

 Would we be replacing a current supplier?

  • Who is that?
    • How do you think they’ll react when you tell them?

Is this your first time you’ve bought this product/service before?

Are we the only ones you’re talking to?

Who else are you talking to about addressing this?

What are the key performance indicators that a successful supplier will need to demonstrate?

  • If you had to prioritise, how would you rate your top three?

Thinking about the team supporting you with the decision, what do you think their blockers might be?

Which department budget is the money coming from to address this?

  • Has the approval been given to allocate it to this project already?

Considering everything we’ve discussed so far, what have we missed? 

What do you think are the biggest internal barriers we’d need to overcome to be the successful bid?

Transition questions are designed to help your prospect get access to the growth they uncovered and help drive others in their team to move from intention to decision.

Based on what you’ve heard so far, do you have any concerns I can address for you? 

Based on what you’ve heard so far, does our solution look like a fit?

  • (If Yes) What stood out most for you?
    • What will your feedback be to the rest of the team? 

What do you plan to do next to move things forward?

What would you like me to do next?

What does next steps look like to you?

What’s your preferred method of communication moving forward?

Thinking about our next steps, what do you feel is the right frequency of communication?

Is it a bad idea to schedule some future meetings in the diary now, so we have dates to aim at?

Before I send over a proposal, can you explain what happens to it when it lands?  

  • Who gets to see it, and what are they expecting to discover?

Given that you’re looking at other bids, can you give me some assurances that I’ll receive feedback to my proposal BEFORE you make a final decision?

Are you open to me addressing any issues that you have BEFORE you make your final decision?

The RIGHT Questions come from the book CONVERTED – How to Help More People Buy What You Sell.

© Copyright Matt Sykes 2020. All rights reserved. Buy a copy of the book here