Archive for June, 2010

The Best Qualifying Questions

June 4, 2010

As you have gathered, I believe in the value of intelligent questioning as the most important element in the qualifying process.  Here is another great example of a series of questions which will not only uncover the pain and it’s impact, but position you the seller, as a valuable resource.  Here’s an excerpt from Bob Apollo‘s recent post Sales People: can you resist the itch to pitch?.  The title is self-explanatory and Bob makes the point eloquently.  I’m a big fan of the questions. 

“Missing the golden moment…

Sales people who cannot resist the itch to pitch are missing a golden moment.  When a prospect acknowledges an issue that you are confident you can help with, the worst possible thing you can do is to jump straight in and tell them how.

Time to explore… 

Think of their acknowledgement of the issue as a golden opportunity to explore.  Instead of prescribing your “solution”, determine instead to learn more about their circumstances.  

What first drew their attention to the problem?  What are the consequences of the problem?  Who else is affected?  What would happen if no fix can be found?  Could they live with the status quo?  Have they tried to deal with it before?  With what results?  Why is solving it important now?

Interesting, important or urgent… 

You’ll learn an enormous amount by following these lines of enquiry.  You may even help your prospect to think differently, and to take a fresh perspective – and earn their respect as a result.  Perhaps most important, you’ll be a better position to judge whether the issue they have acknowledged is interesting, important or urgent to their organisation.

Interesting needs can get you considered.  Important needs can get you evaluated.  But only urgent needs will get you bought.  There’s no point in pitching a solution to a problem that isn’t regarded as urgent.  But by asking these questions, you may be able to elevate an interesting or important need to an urgent one – or to identify a related need that turns out to be truly urgent.  Or you may be in a position to conclude that there’s no urgent need to be solved, and nothing that you can do to secure a sale.”

Thanks, Bob, for your insightful post!