Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Five questions you should ask every sales prospect

The way you ask these questions will change, of course, depending on the context and conversation. But before you can sell, even as you qualify whether the prospect is a near-term sales opportunity, you need answers to the following five questions.

1. What do you need?

How they answer this will tell you a lot about how broadly or narrowly they're approaching the situation or problem.

2. What are your priorities?

Including and beyond the problem or need at hand. Getting a sense for their priorities (directly & individually as well as for their group and organization) will help you understand the relative value and urgency for solving this specific problem.

3. Why is this important?
What made this a priority in the first place? What underlying reasons or objectives does it serve? The answer may be strategic or political or various points in between, but you need to understand the context into which you're selling.

4. What does success look like?
Understand how the prospect defines success. They may not know, or may have calculated or interpreted success wrong. But if you sell them a great product that solves a different problem and/or achieves a different outcome they didn't expect or prioritize, they're still going to blame you.

5. What’s in it for you?

For what other reasons does the prospective buyer want to do this? A raise or promotion? To play a part in an organization-wide initiative? Superficial priorities may be just as important in helping you drive urgency and progress towards getting the deal done.


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