In sales, one mantra rings true for both the prospect and the salesperson: Ask the right questions. This teaches sales representatives to prioritize needs discovery. Additionally, it helps salespeople suss out a prospect’s main concerns. Yet, few sales professionals expect their customers to respond with thoughtful inquiry.

Generally, sales reps provide clients with information that should proactively address questions. Unfortunately, this can lead to negative consequences. Despite the best intentions, salespeople who provide too much information upfront insulate themselves from questions customers may ask which reveal interest, intent, and reservations.

Throughout the sales process, prospects should prompt sellers to answer questions that help the customer better understand the benefits, costs, and long-term potential of your product or service. Often, curious customers lead to better sales. And a quality sale is when prospects are not negatively surprised at any point during the sales process. In order to make sure prospects know exactly what they are getting, integrate these 10 questions into the conversation.

1. Who is your ideal customer?

When customers ask this question, they want to know how your product or service can be applied to their business to help them succeed. In your response, they are listening for any inconsistencies between the type of buyer you are looking for and the type of customer they are.

Essentially, they want to know that you thoroughly researched their business prior to reaching out. Therefore, you want to take this opportunity to carefully explain reasons why they are your perfect client. You may reiterate that fact by sharing case studies and success stories from current or former customers with similar profiles and backgrounds. Ultimately, prospects want to feel as if your product was built for their business and with their needs in mind.

2. Do you use your own product?

A litmus test for how much a salesperson believes in the product is whether or not he or she actually uses it. Customers want to know that the person selling them a solution talks about its advantages and benefits from experience, not from management-developed sales scripts.

As a sales representative, you should know every detail about the product or service you offer through first-hand use. You may even impress prospects by sharing your own testimonial about how the tool your company has built improves your happiness or productivity, and saves you time or money. 

3. How can I justify the cost and when will I recoup my investment?

In sales, prospects commonly ask: “How much does it cost?” Often, the simple answer is, “Never enough.” What customers truly care about is how they can justify the cost and recoup their investment. To respond to that, salespeople are trained to share the sticker price of their product or service along with an explanation of benefits.

Buyers want to know how much value they can expect to receive from their purchase. This helps them evaluate whether or not they can get a positive return on their investment. Additionally, it gives them a better understanding of their opportunity costs. Top-performing salespeople use the information they have gathered from prospects, such as company revenues and current spending habits, to calculate a dollar value for how much a customer can gain from purchasing their solution both short-term and long-term.

4. Why are you cheaper (or more expensive) than your competitors?

Price signals value, though people interpret the same price differently. Some customers see higher prices as exploitative. Others view it as a necessary attribute for superior products. Many buyers are attracted to lower priced offerings knowing they can save money. A few scoff at cheaper products they perceive as inferior.

Great salespeople want prospects to ask about the logic behind their prices. When your offerings are cheaper than your competitors, some prospects may worry about the quality of your products or services. Therefore, you will want to explain why your product is not only more affordable but better suited for their business.

On the other hand, if your solutions are more expensive than comparable offerings on the market, customers may choose to do business with your low-cost competitors. For price-sensitive clients, this question gives you a chance to explain the unique advantages your product offers that justify the premium cost.

5. What recent changes have you made to your product or service?

Here, sellers can boast about the evolution of their product or service. Customers generally enjoy hearing this story as it typically demonstrates how a vendor gathered and processed customer feedback or adapted to widespread industry changes to improve their overall offerings.

Discuss big and small changes that have been made recently and explain how those benefit customers. Disclose how often improvements are made and ways customers can actively influence upcoming changes. 

6. How do you expect your product or service to evolve? What features are you adding next?

This is the perfect follow-up to the last question. To answer this, salespeople should be honest about how their team prioritizes customer feedback to make improvements that help end users. Furthermore, salespeople can touch on their team’s research and development processes; this may give prospects a better idea of how your company plans to stay ahead of the innovation curve.

When prospects ask about how you have upgraded your offerings in the past and how you expect to improve them in the future, they want to know that your product or service will continue to be relevant as their industry evolves and their business needs change. Because switching costs can be high, it’s in every client’s best interests to find a vendor they can confidently develop a long-term relationship with, too.

7. Is there a direct relationship between how much I invest and my ROI?

Businesses with big budgets want to know how they can best utilize their resources. They also want to know whether or not there is a limit on how much they can spend with a particular vendor and if an increase in spending provides additional or diminishing returns. Companies prefer to partner with providers that can scale with them as their needs grow.

This question allows salespeople to organically weave upsells into the conversation. It also helps buyers plan ways to integrate your product or service in other areas of their business in the future.

8. Who will manage my account when we close the sale?

High-performing salespeople sometimes form a special bond with their clients. But in order to be good at their jobs, they pass along account management responsibilities to one of their colleagues after they close the sale. Thus, many customers may worry about the quality of their post-sales service.

The best sales reps ease prospects’ concerns by explaining how the “hand-off” process will work between the sales and account management teams, and how customers are treated. That way, you may give your prospects peace of mind knowing that you and your team will continue to take care of them long after the sale is closed.

9. What are my options if I change my mind?

Customers are naturally inclined to avert potential losses. When they find themselves married to the wrong commitments, they enjoy having easy and affordable options if they need to adjust their contract. To overcome a prospect’s fear of experiencing buyer’s remorse, be clear about five things:

  • The services you offer to ensure customers get the most value from their purchase
  • How and when customers can make changes to their contract
  • The costs they may incur for services provided before the contract was updated
  • Your refund policy
  • Any additional costs they may be responsible for

10. How do you respond to some of the criticisms users have shared on the Internet?

Research shows that as much as 90 per cent of customers are influenced by the reviews they read online. While positive reviews can bolster your reputation, a negative review can cost you a sale. Thus, critical Internet reviews can cast doubt on the value your product or service truly offers.

Good salespeople want prospects inquiring about the not-so-good experiences other customers may have had. This allows you to directly tackle the reservations your potential client may have—because if you don’t know what a customer’s concerns are, you can’t address them.

Indeed, it is impossible for companies to deliver absolute happiness to all their users. The best salespeople welcome the opportunity to admit fault and earnestly explain what their team has done and continues to do to regularly improve the user experience. Answering this question, and being ready to answer the other important questions top salespeople want potential customers to ask, will help customers better understand your company and offerings and improve the quality of your relationship with them.

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