Five Questions That Guarantee A Meaningful Sales Conversation

Published: August 20, 2012

By Peter Gracey, President, COO and Co-Founder, AG Salesworks

One way to measure the quality of a business conversation is by the way your prospect talks about you once the discussion is over. In other words: Yes, you want them to talk about you behind your back. But you want those conversations to portray you in a positive light.

If you handled yourself well, and conveyed the value of the service or product you’re selling in a straightforward manner, your prospect will be confident that you’re well informed. They’ll conclude that the technology you’re proposing addresses their pain points. And best of all, not only will they do business with you, but chances are good they will also be a source of ongoing referrals.

If the conversation wasn’t mutually beneficial, it’s likely you will never hear from that prospect again. It’s even more likely that they will share their dissatisfaction with many of their business partners.

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The keys to a meaningful sales conversation are simple, but the natural anxiety that kicks in whenever we’re speaking face-to-face or over the phone with a potential customer can complicate things. Too often that anxiety drives us to spend too much time talking about our product or service before we give the prospect a chance to explain their situation – and the reasons behind why they’re having a conversation with us in the first place.

So how do you overcome this all too common first mistake? By learning. And how do you do that? By asking leading questions that give the prospect the opportunity to fully explain why they are talking to you and how your products or services can help their business.

Keep it simple and about them.  Before you even mention your product or service, ask your prospect the following five questions:

  • What product or service are you using now?
  • How long have you been using it?
  • What are the issues or difficulties with it?
  • What is the negative impact on your business?
  • And finally, how are those issues affecting your ability to drive positive results?

Now, after you hear the response to the first question, always remember to personalize the conversation as much as possible by referencing their previous response during your next question. That will show your prospect that you’re fully engaged in the conversation, you’re listening, and you’re interested in helping them overcome any issues.

You will also demonstrate your respect for their time, and it will always come across that your primary goal is to help them resolve issues, not to merely sell them something.

Peter Gracey, is the Chief Operations Officer and Co-Founder of AG Salesworks, a leading provider of high quality and fully qualified sales leads to technology companies. In his current position, Pete oversees client engagement, personnel management, business strategy, across-the-board data analysis and long-term strategic planning. Gracey is a prolific blogger who posts frequently to the AG web site, and contributes online video presentations. Gracey is an Adjunct Professor of Sales and Marketing for the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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