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Winning the Business

3 Closing Questions You Must Ask to Close More Sales

6 min
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Marc Wayshak

Founder, Author & Sales Strategist

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In this session, we delve into the art of asking effective questions in the world of sales. Why is this so crucial? Let's start with some eye-opening statistics: According to a recent survey, 79% of customers feel frustrated when salespeople don't ask relevant questions. In contrast, 73% are more likely to buy from sales reps who engage in meaningful conversations. So, how can you become one of those successful salespeople who close deals effectively? It all begins with asking the right questions.

Differentiating Effective from Ineffective Questions

In the realm of sales, not all questions are created equal. There are effective questions that can lead you to a successful sale, and then there are ineffective ones that might just leave your prospects feeling uninterested. Effective questions are those that unearth valuable information, create a connection, and guide the conversation towards a positive outcome. Ineffective questions, on the other hand, often lead to dead ends or frustration.

Consider this: A common but ineffective question might be, "Do you want to buy our product?" This question is too direct and doesn't provide any value or context. In contrast, an effective question could be, "What challenges are you currently facing in your business?" This opens up a dialogue, allowing the salesperson to understand the prospect's pain points and tailor a solution accordingly.

Adding Value in Sales Conversations

One of the primary goals in sales is to provide value to your potential customers. But how can you achieve this through your questions? Well, it's about asking questions that matter to the prospect. For instance, you might ask, "How does the current challenge affect your bottom line?" This not only shows your genuine interest but also helps the prospect recognize the tangible impact of their problem.

Creating value doesn't stop there; it's a continuous process throughout the conversation. Effective sales questions are like puzzle pieces that gradually build a complete picture of the prospect's needs, preferences, and pain points. These insights will serve as the foundation for offering a tailored solution that genuinely addresses their specific situation.

The Significance of Creating Value for Your Solution

Imagine you're about to make a significant purchase, say a new car. You walk into a dealership, and the salesperson starts by asking, "What's essential for you in a vehicle?" They want to know if you prioritize safety, fuel efficiency, or perhaps the latest technology. As you respond, they listen attentively and provide options that align with your preferences. You start to see the value in their offerings because they've taken the time to understand your needs.

In the world of sales, creating value for your solution works in a similar way. When you ask effective questions that reveal the prospect's pain points and priorities, you're essentially customizing your pitch to match their requirements. This not only makes your product or service more appealing but also demonstrates your commitment to solving their problems.

In this session, you've learned the importance of asking effective questions in sales. You've discovered the difference between effective and ineffective questions and how they impact your sales conversations. By asking questions that add value and create context, you're on your way to becoming a more successful salesperson. Remember, it's not just about what you're selling; it's about how well you understand your prospect's needs and deliver solutions that truly matter to them. So, watch this session to learn more about honing your skills in asking effective sales questions and closing more deals successfully.

In this session, we'll dive deep into the first of three closing questions that can significantly enhance your sales game: "What's this challenge cost you?" This question is not just a casual inquiry; it's a strategic move that can pave the way for closing more sales effectively.

Detailing the First Closing Question

The question, "What's this challenge cost you?" may seem simple on the surface, but its impact is profound. When you pose this question, you're essentially inviting your prospect to put a price tag on their problem. It encourages them to reflect on the real-world consequences of the challenges they're facing. This opens the door for a meaningful discussion that goes beyond the surface.

Asking Effectively to Create Value

Now, let's talk about how to ask this question effectively to create value for your product or service. Timing and tone are key. You want to ask this question in the context of your ongoing conversation with the prospect, ideally after you've discussed some of the challenges that your product or service can address. It might go something like this: "George, considering the challenges we've talked about, what would you say this challenge has cost you?"

Notice the tone – it's empathetic and understanding. This is crucial because it encourages your prospect to open up and provide an honest response. When you ask it right, you're almost always guaranteed to get a response. And that's where the magic begins.

Impact on the Sales Decision

The prospect's response to this question can have a profound impact on the sales decision. Let's illustrate with an example. Suppose your prospect responds, "These challenges are costing us three million dollars." Now, let's say your solution is priced at three hundred thousand dollars. This is where the alignment happens.

When your prospect realizes that your product or service can potentially solve a three million dollar problem for just three hundred thousand dollars, it becomes a no-brainer decision. The value proposition becomes crystal clear, and the prospect can see how investing in your solution is not just wise but also financially prudent. This alignment of the challenge's cost with your solution's cost creates a compelling case for closing the sale.

Matching Cost to Challenge - A No-Brainer

The concept of matching your solution's cost to the challenge's cost is indeed a no-brainer. It's a fundamental principle in sales that underscores the value proposition. When your prospect perceives that the benefits they'll gain from your solution significantly outweigh the financial investment required, resistance dwindles.

In essence, this first closing question serves as a powerful tool to help your prospects visualize the value of what you're offering. It transforms abstract concepts into tangible figures, making it easier for them to make a decision in favor of your product or service.

In this session, you've explored the first closing question, "What's this challenge cost you?" You've learned how to ask it effectively to create value, seen examples of its impact on the sales decision, and understood why matching your solution's cost to the challenge's cost is a no-brainer. By mastering this question, you'll be well on your way to closing more sales successfully. To delve deeper into this topic, watch this session to gain valuable insights and hone your sales skills.

We're shifting our focus to the second closing question in your arsenal: "What could you see investing to solve that challenge?" This question is a strategic follow-up to the first closing question we discussed earlier, and it plays a vital role in guiding your sales conversations toward success.

Discussing the Second Closing Question

Now, let's break down the second closing question. "What could you see investing to solve that challenge?" serves a crucial purpose in your sales dialogue. It builds on the foundation laid by the first question, "What's this challenge cost you?" While the first question helps the prospect recognize the financial impact of their problem, the second question takes it a step further. It invites the prospect to consider the budget they'd be willing to allocate to solve that challenge.

Allowing Prospects to Set a Budget

One of the key advantages of this question is that it allows prospects to set a budget for solving their challenge. By giving them the opportunity to express what they're willing to invest, you're essentially empowering them to take ownership of the decision-making process. This engagement fosters a sense of control and involvement in the solution-seeking process, which can be incredibly powerful.

Imagine your prospect responds with, "I could see investing a hundred thousand dollars to solve this challenge." This response provides valuable insight. If your solution aligns with or falls below this budget, you're in a favorable position. You can then address their budgetary concerns right there in the conversation, eliminating the need to go back and forth with proposals.

Addressing Budget Concerns Upfront

The importance of addressing budget concerns upfront cannot be overstated. Many sales conversations hit roadblocks when the budget becomes a surprise factor late in the process. By asking this question early on, you proactively address the financial aspect of the decision-making process. This transparency can prevent misunderstandings, wasted time, and potential friction down the road.

Moreover, when you have a clear understanding of the prospect's budget, you can tailor your solution accordingly. If their budget aligns with your offering, you can confidently move forward in the conversation. If it's higher, you might explore additional features or options. And if it's lower, you can discuss potential alternatives or find ways to demonstrate the exceptional value your solution provides.

You've delved into the second closing question, "What could you see investing to solve that challenge?" This question builds upon the foundation established by the first question, and it empowers prospects to set a budget for addressing their problems. By addressing budget concerns upfront, you streamline the sales process, enhance transparency, and increase the likelihood of a successful close. To further refine your skills in using this powerful question, watch this session for additional insights and practical tips.

Exploring the Third Closing Question

Let's dive right into the third closing question. "What's your typical decision-making process for something of this nature?" revolves around understanding how your prospect navigates decisions related to the product or service you're offering. It's not just about knowing what they need; it's about understanding how they make choices.

Significance of Understanding the Decision-Making Process

Understanding a prospect's decision-making process is of paramount importance in sales. It provides insight into whether they intend to make a decision in the near future, whether there are other decision-makers involved, and what factors influence their choices. Without this knowledge, you risk stumbling into unforeseen obstacles as the sales process unfolds.

The Pitfalls of Not Knowing Decision-Makers

To illustrate the significance, let's consider a common scenario. You've had a series of productive meetings with a prospect, presented your solution, and are ready to close the deal. However, at the eleventh hour, they drop a bombshell: "I need to run this by someone else in our organization." Suddenly, a seemingly smooth sales process becomes complicated, time-consuming, and uncertain.

This situation arises when you haven't probed into the decision-making process. You may have assumed that your contact has the authority to make the final call, only to discover late in the game that there are other stakeholders who need to be consulted. This lack of insight can lead to frustration, delays, and even lost opportunities.

The Golden Rule: Never Present Before Knowing

One of the golden rules in sales, emphasized by seasoned professionals, is never to present your solution before understanding the prospect's decision-making process. This rule underscores the importance of clarity before commitment. By asking the question, "What's your typical decision-making process for something of this nature?" upfront, you position yourself for success.

When you know how decisions are made within the prospect's organization, you can tailor your approach accordingly. If multiple decision-makers are involved, you can strategize ways to engage them collectively or individually, depending on the dynamics. If the process is complex and lengthy, you can manage expectations and timelines more effectively.

Incorporating this third closing question into your sales conversations not only prevents potential roadblocks but also demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to a smooth and transparent partnership.

In this session, you've explored the power of the third closing question, "What's your typical decision-making process for something of this nature?" You've learned why understanding this process is crucial, seen examples of how not knowing decision-makers can cause problems in sales, and been reminded of the rule never to present before knowing the prospect's decision-making process. To further enhance your sales skills, watch this session for additional insights and practical guidance.

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