What is the cost in terms of time and lost opportunities when salespeople “chase” unqualified leads? This was the focus of a vibrant discussion I had this week with my colleague Peter Skakum (http://tangentstrategies.com/).
For me, in addition to the cost, the element of disrespect weighs heavily as well.
Now it’s true that sometimes our best research doesn’t provide perfect clarity on a potential client and we must approach them in order to verify their need for our product or service. When this is the case, it is vital that open-ended questions are asked at the front-end of the process.
Many salespeople hesitate to ask these questions because they think it’s too time-consuming. Instead, they focus on getting permission to send detailed information, or on organizing a face-to-face meeting, and then spend hours following up, following up, following up.
In other words, they double or triple or even quadruple the amount of time expended – by both themselves and the prospect – before they receive the “no” that was available at the beginning.
Experience has taught me that prospects respect you when you respect their most valuable resource – time. Asking great questions and getting to the end response quickly – be it yes or no – is respectful. And it wins you the esteem of that prospect for a long, long time.
One of the most powerful words in this process is “how”. Here are some examples of this wonderful little word at work:
“How are you currently handling the challenge of …?”
“How do you make decisions about …?”
“How is your budget structured when it comes to …?”
“How is your relationship with …?”
“How do you feel about your …?”
What about you? What are some of your favourite “how” questions? It would be great if you would share them here.
Also, Peter and I encourage you to join us for our upcoming workshop – Exceed Your Quota – on March 13 at Ashburn Golf Club in Halifax. I know this to be a powerful experience because I’m one of the students for half the day. I sit there and watch everyone’s “aha” moments happen. It really is fabulous! But don’t take my word for it. Send me a quick comment and I’ll send you the testimonials from our past participants.
For the workshop outline and to register, keep scrolling. All the details are below.
Happy dialing everyone!