Posts Tagged ‘Sales Activity’

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!


Close Often! Throughout the sales process-

February 8, 2010

Great post  by Anthony Iannarino from The Sales Blog  on “closing” throughout the sales process, not just at the conclusion.  Constant focus on adding value with each sales interaction, and closing to “move forward” are key attributes for successful sales professionals.

Holiday Season Focus, Discipline, and Leadership

December 4, 2008

photo_duncanlaw4This time of year is challenging for sales teams with a December fiscal year-end.  It’s no wonder leading software companies like MSFT and end their fiscal year’s on different schedules!  That said, there are two dynamics that must be planned for.  

The first is closing crucial year-end deals.  If you haven’t already asked the question (“Is there any reason why we can’t conclude this transaction before Dec 23rd?) there is no time like the present.  In a perfect world, that question would have been answered already in the qualifying discussion related to your prospect’s purchasing process ( who? how? when?).  The answer to that question will have a direct impact on your forecast for December and Q4.  It is good practice to jointly build in a detailed timeline with your prospect to address the steps that need to be completed.  These include proposal modification, draft agreement submission, and availability of key resources including legal.  Well planned and executed sales processes will deliver your agreements on the 23rd. 

The second dynamic is your or your team’s January/Q1 pipeline.  It ‘s easy for sales teams to spend an inordinate amount of time staring at the phone and fax machine “wishing” it to come to life with good news from your prospects.  It’s easy to get away from the on-going requirement and imperative of filling and managing the pipeline.  It is crucial for teams to maintain continued momentum and activity for January/Q1 deals.  This requires discipline, focus and leadership during a time that features a high degree of distraction and competing priorities.  Don’t fall or let your team fall into the trap of losing sight of next month and quarter.  There’s nothing better than having a good January pipeline enhanced by a few deals that didn’t make Q4.  The result is a solid January and a foundation for Q1 success.

Good luck!