Proposal submitted, follow-up done—but no response from the prospect.
They expressed interest, so where did they go? Every salesperson has experienced this at some point. The typical strategy for counteracting this situation might involve continuing to follow up, moving them down the list of priority prospects, or removing them from your database of leads and opportunities.
But considering how much time is wasted trying to convert prospects into loyal, happy clients, the worst thing a salesperson can do is invest their time with prospects who are not and will never be a good fit.
When you invest your day focusing on the wrong prospects, the cost is that you’re no longer investing your time with the right ones. And worse, you might even be helping your competition win the business that could have been yours.
Prevent prospects from disappearing by using a series of critical qualifying questions that uncover the true likelihood that they, at some point, will transform from a prospect into a customer.
Here are 16 questions to ask to ensure a prospect is an opportunity worth pursuing, while also preventing them from going cold. Keep in mind, these are questions to ask at the end of your preliminary conversation to determine if a prospect understands your value proposition, key differentiators and why they should choose you.
1) So, how are you feeling about our conversation?
2) Given what we discussed, what stood out as most important to you?
3) What do you like most about our product or service?
4) How well does our product or service align with your business objectives?
5) What additional factors would make us your vendor of choice?
6) How committed are you to your current provider?
7) What concerns do you have about working together?
8) Other than you, who else is involved in this decision-making process that we should include in our next conversation?
9) What other priorities or initiatives are you working on that could defer this decision or move it down your list of priorities?
10) If you decide to work with us, when would you want to begin?
11) What information do you need to confirm that we’re the best solution?
12) I would love to get this information to you tomorrow, but I don’t want to do you a disservice by rushing through this. So, when can I get this to you while honoring your timeline?
13) To ensure I’m being respectful of your time, can you briefly share your process for reviewing proposals like these?
14) If I get this to you by Friday, when do you think you’ll have a chance to review the proposal?
15) Once you’ve had a chance to review the information, when is a good time to schedule a follow-up meeting?
16) If I don’t hear from you, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?
If a prospect is unable or reluctant to answer any of these questions, consider it a warning sign that they may not be truly committed to making you a priority. Also, always be on the lookout for prospects who show interest in your products or services merely to be compliant around their vendor selection, knowing their intention is to use your information to justify staying with their existing solution provider.
Now that you have delved deeper to assess whether a prospect is viable and confirmed the next step in your sales process, here’s how to end the conversation to avoid any miscommunication and keep the process moving forward:
“Thank you for your time. You can expect an email containing the information you requested, a recap of what we discussed and our next steps. Thanks again for the opportunity to work with you. Have a great day.”
Try these questions on your next prospect. This deeper level of qualifying will make your sales process easier, increase your forecast accuracy, help you close more sales and give you more time to focus on the right prospects, disqualify the wrong ones and make you a sales champion.
Keith Rosen, CEO of Profit Builders and founder of Coachquest, has delivered his programs to hundreds of thousands of people in practically every industry in over 75 countries. Rosen has written several bestsellers, including “Sales Leadership,” “Own Your Day” and the globally acclaimed “Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions,” winner of five international best book awards and the No. 1 bestselling sales management book on Amazon for eight consecutive years.