In any sales situation, it’s impossible to make an educated pitch without first understanding the outcomes your buyers are looking for. These 8 questions are an easy way for you to get a clear picture of exactly what your prospect is after.

1. What is the most important outcome you need from this project?

It’s the obvious first question, isn’t it? And it should be. If you want to understand what your prospective clients need, ask them directly. The bigger and more strategic the outcome, the more compelling it is for your prospective client. Your willingness to help them achieve those outcomes is what helps move you into the role of trusted advisor.

2. Are there other outcomes you need, too? What else is important?

Your discovery sales call isn’t only about what you can discover. One of the ways you create value throughout the sales process is by helping them make their own discoveries. By asking what else is important, you help your client think through those questions. A lot of times they need more than one outcome.

3. Why is this outcome the most important?

Your prospective client may have very firm beliefs about what’s important and why. Asking them to verbalize it helps them describe the outcome and why it’s important in a way that both of you can use to make your case for change. If you want to know what makes for a good value proposition, start with the question “why?” This question gives you that “why.”

4. What are the implications of not achieving this outcome?

Sometimes the best way to determine why an outcome is a “must have” outcome is to understand the implications of not achieving that outcome. If you understand the cost of failure then you understand why your dream client must achieve that outcome, and you get some insight into how you can help.

5. How will you measure that outcome? How will we measure success?

Another clue to uncovering “must-have” outcomes is to ask how your client will measure success. What will achieving that outcome allow them to do? Will it increase revenue? Will it decrease costs? Will it improve profitability? Will it help them succeed for their clients or customers? If you want to know what motivates your dream client ask them to share with you how you will measure success together?

6. What will achieving this outcome now enable you to do in the future?

People change in order to have a better future. They want better results than they’re getting now, and that’s their motivation for abandoning and upsetting the status quo. The driving force for your dream client taking action is to be able to do something in the future that they can’t do now. Asked them what they need to be able to do in the future.

7. What has stopped you from producing those outcomes before now?

If you really want to understand how to help your client achieve those outcomes you will ask the question as to what has prevented them from achieving those outcomes before now. This moves you from theory to the concrete. It allows you to start dealing with the real challenges and obstacles that you were going to need to face in order to help them produce their “must-have” outcomes.

8. Whose support will we need within your organization?

By asking whose support you will need within your dream client’s company, you can begin to understand the organization’s needs. You may be helping your power sponsor or coach to achieve these outcomes, but if they are “must have” outcomes, than the rest of the organization is going to be interested in what happens here. The sooner you start to gain their support and understand their needs, the greater likelihood you have of uncovering “must-have” outcomes, and the greater likelihood you gain the opportunity to help them achieve them.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. He has been named one of the top 25 most influential people in sales by both OpenView Partners and Top Sales World. Anthony writes for the magazines SUCCESS and ThinkSales, as well as daily at The Sales Blog.




Use these eight questions to uncover your buyers “must-have” outcomes. By doing so, you will gain a greater insight into their motivations and how you can make a difference.