How to turn sales around without manipulation or pressure and feel good about it.
BY Debra Maldonado – 26 May 2018
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
There is nothing more frustrating than having a hot prospect turn down your offer on a sales call and knowing they just slipped through your fingers. You lose out on acquiring a new customer and they lose out on the amazing product or service that could benefit their life or their business.
As a start-up entrepreneur, you have to wear many hats and one of them is probably being a salesperson. Before I hired my sales team, I conducted thousands of sales calls and I learned five key questions that helped me increase my conversion rates and get the client excited about saying “yes.”
If you aren’t doing the sales calls yourself and have a sales team, these questions can help them convert more customers and increase revenue.
For the most part, prospects are skeptical. They want to make wise decisions with their investments and you need to build trust that you can deliver. Most people enter a sales conversation looking for a reason to refuse. These questions transform the mindset of the customer from why, to why not?
These questions are great for any entrepreneur trying to close a big deal or even just getting started to ask their prospects to inspire the sale.
1. Is this a priority in your life?
This question really gets at the root of a purchasing decision. People only pay for things that are a priority for them. It isn’t about the price or product itself, but more about their willingness to make solving their problem a priority.
When you ask a prospect this question, it forces them to confront his or her own inner conflicts about what they want and what they are willing to do to get results. When the decision requires a significant financial investment, their mind will convince them that it isn’t the right time or that it is too much of a risk. When something is truly a priority, the prospect will find a way to make the investment and timing work if they believe it will help them.
2. If you don’t do this, what will you do?
I’ve heard prospects tell me how frustrated they are and how they want to find a partner, make more money or change careers and live their purpose. When the conversation turned to next steps, suddenly they had many excuses whether it was time or money that kept them from moving forward. By asking them this question, they got in touch with the reason they set up the call in the first place. They wanted the result and the thought of walking away without a plan or guide was scarier than they thought. Without pressure, the question led them to make a decision focused on what they will lose rather what they would win. Fear has a stronger emotional change than hope that motivates them to make the decision that would change their life.
3. Is it that you do not believe in my product/service or believe in yourself?
If you sell a service that involves a customer to have joint responsibility to get the result such as coaching, fitness, financial services, etc., you also have to overcome the client’s self-doubt in implementing the solution properly. This is a more personal question that may not be appropriate in more conservative corporate environments, but in small businesses that deal with mindset and psychology of the user, this question can be crucial to get into the head of the client.
In personal development there are many programs that make big promises and the prospects I speak with are fatigued with programs that don’t deliver. They begin to wonder if they can change at all. Asking the prospect this question helps them realize that the hesitation isn’t about your product or service but about their own insecurities. If you stand in confidence of your product, you can transform their anxiety about taking a risk because they will feel understood and comforted by your certainty.
4. What did you find most helpful about our conversation?
Before you pitch your product or service, ask the prospect to repeat back what was helpful about your advice or suggestions during the consultation sales call. They will literally give you all the reasons for them to say “yes” to your offer. It nearly makes it impossible for them to say refuse your service after they just told you all the ways you already helped them.
This process helps laser the conversation, summarize what was discussed and the prospect is often surprised at the things they learned in just one call that leaves them with a positive association with your product or service.
5. What was missing?
When a prospect clearly declines the offer and is ready to leave the conversation, I found that just being transparent and asking the prospect what was missing (why didn’t I earn the sale), they easily volunteered the remaining objections that kept them from moving forward. Once I understood those objections, I was able to address them. Many times, this has completely turned around the sale because the prospect knew I really cared and valued their input and wanted to make sure she had all the information to make the best decision.
You never want to coerce someone to buy something they don’t need or cannot afford. The key to asking the right questions isn’t about manipulation but about helping a prospect get out of their own way in taking a step that could change their life or their business. If you believe in your product, this should be unconsciously conveyed to them and they will feel it.