Due to my often times contrarian view of selling I sometimes meet with people who don’t believe you can ask direct questions of their prospects.
This strikes me as insanity.
All too often sales people dance around the main points of clarification because of a fear of upsetting or challenging the prospect.
For me this is backward. A sales meeting is not an audition or an exercise of being overly polite. A sales meeting is to explore genuine value and intent to move forward; from both parties.
It’s an open and frank discussion; exploratory and respectful, value filled and honest.
If there is value and the business case stacks up then work out the ways to move forward. If there is no value and no sense in pursuing then disengage until next time. Simple.
But for this to happen the sales person must ask the questions for which they need the answers to.
Some examples: (And these are pretty tame!)
“What’s your appetite like for shifting suppliers?”
“Why not just stay with what you currently have?”
“Specifically, what’s your decision criteria for making this decision?”
“What would make you sure that we offer the best solution for you?”
“How does our solution stack up?”
These are not tough to ask; they are natural questions to ask if you have spent some time with your prospects and explored, needs, value and offers etc.
Be direct and ask the bold questions.