Most of the sales process involves 8 to 10 steps as below and where do you think the difference b/w the high performers and average performers start?
- Preparation & Organization
- Conducting a Needs Assessment
- Presenting Solutions to Needs
- Developing & Presenting Proposals
- Handling Prospect Resistance
- Closing Sales Professionally
- Following Up Sales Effectively
- Territory & Account Management
Most sales people answer like presenting solutions or handling objections etc. Indeed they are important but the real high performing sales people, do a very thorough job at the stage of qualifying.
Because if you don’t qualify the prospect, then there is very likely that sales won’t happen, but it cost the company time, money and lost opportunities with other accounts.
What to Qualify?
Depending on business types as well as solutions being offered, qualification needs to be staged accordingly. For example, price qualification in some businesses doesn’t come in until you present a solution.
Standard qualification stills goes with the BANT (Budget, Authority, Needs, Timelines). Below we cover these and also competition which is crucial many times.
Let’s divein and understand what are the top 25 questions can be used in B2B sales for qualifying a prospect (Source: Sales Questions That Close Every Deal, Gerhard Gschwandtner)
Please note the order of questions is not presented. The questions need to be used intelligently during the conversation.
- What purpose of the new product (service) have in your business?
- What benefits do you expect as a result of making this purchase?
- I appreciate your interest in our ______. May I ask you what kind of use you had in mind?
- You know we have a large selection. What kind of application did you have in mind?
- May I understand how this purchase fits into the overall “your production plan”?
- Ideally, what would like to accomplish with this purchase?
- I appreciate your interest. What made you decide to contact our company?
- How did you hear about our company?
Determining the financial ability to buy
- I am sure you have thought about the financial aspect of this important purchase. What are your expectations in this area?
- How is your budget situation at this time?
- How have you historically handled the financing part of such purchase?
- What type of payment plan would you be looking for?
- What kind of budget plans have you made for this investment?
- If you should decide to buy from us, what kind of financial assistance would you be looking for?
Customers buying power
- Who other than your self (apart from you), is involved in the decision to buy this product?
- I was wondering if this type of investment decision is made by a group of people in your company or do you have the sole responsibility for approving the important purchase?
- What role your immediate supervisor have in this purchase?
- I assume this type of purchase is within your budget authority. Or am I making a wrong assumption?
- I realize this a big purchase. Would you mind telling who will be on “Who has final authority” to approve and write a cheque for this purchase?
Determining the Timelines
- When would want to begin enjoying the benefits of this unique product?
- Would you be for an immediate need or are you planning this for later in the year?
- How much in a hurry are you?
- I was wondering about your timetable. What are the steps you normally go through with this type of purchase?
- What kind of schedule would we have to meet to satisfy your needs?
- What are your expectations in terms of time?
Determining competitive situation
- What type of products have you considered that might satisfy your needs?
- What other companies have you considered?
- Just between you and me, what other brands are you looking at?
- Do we have any competition at this time? Who?
- I was wondering what other products are you looking at this time?
- You probably have talked with one or two competitors. That’s to be expected. What kind of impression did you get of their operations?
- What other types of solutions have you considered that might solve your problem?
Qualification is very important sales process and it is critical for sales people to master this. The list of questions given above are not 100% fool proof and requires to adjusted according to conversations.
But having a general idea of questions is far better than no idea. In that sense, we hope the above list helps you. Share your comments or even share any other questions you like to add to qualification.