Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Questions that can make you money

When prospecting, it’s vital that the person doing the prospecting has the right script, featuring the right questions, to produce the greatest return on your prospecting investment. Ekstrom and Associates can help!

First, your prospector must make a great first impression. Often this is your prospects first contact on behalf of your company. Then the prospector needs to be able to get past the receptionist to the decision maker (DM). By asking the right questions, the prospector can determine whether the company is qualified, gather relevant marketing information, and depending on the prospect’s Willingness To Buy generate fully qualified sales opportunities.

But what are these questions? And how does your prospector direct the conversation to obtain these goals?

Keep in mind that the goal of your prospector is two-fold: To qualify the prospect company and gather critical marketing intelligence you can later use to generate additional revenues from this prospect. Unless you can make money on the information you are gathering, it’s not worth asking the questions.

Step One: Initiating Activity with the Receptionist. Your prospector first needs to be trained to get past the receptionist. You’ll need two versions of questions: one for when the Project Manager knows the name of the DM, and one for when he doesn’t.

If the DM’s name isn’t known, the script should go something like, “Hello, my name is __(prospector’s Name)_ … and I’m hoping you can help me. Can you tell me who’s responsible for ____ at your location?

If the DM’s name is known, the script will go something like, a. “Hello. My name is, _(prospetors name )_. If __(First Name)_’s there, _(First) __ _(Last Name)____, I need to speak with him / her please.”

Step Two: Initiating Activity with the Decision Maker. Once your prospector gets to the person he is trying to speak to (DM), she needs to accomplish three things: Introduce himself, explain who he represents, and what his company does. Think of it as
“My name is…..”
“My company is….”
“We do….”

Step Three: The Transition Question. Immediately after the initiating activity, create a transition question to get the prospect talking about your subject. For example: “I understand you’re the person who is responsible for purchasing _____ there … is that correct?”

By asking this question, you have just qualified your Decision Maker (QDM) and quite likely the prospect’s company as well. If he says yes to this question, the prospector knows he is speaking the correct person. Second, he has set the direction for where the rest of the conversation will go.

Question Four: The Prioritizing Process. At this point in the questioning, you want to gather sufficient information to determine how much time and effort you want to devote to this particular organization. You are trying to determine how many, how big, or how much. For example, if your prospect has a number of large warehouses and you have a door-maintenance business, you might ask: “How many doors does your warehouse have?” This is a “how much” question. Then, you can follow up with: “Are the doors left open in the summer?” This is a “how often” question.

Step Five: Gathering Marketing Information. Following our previous example, ask this question: “Do you repair your own doors or does someone outside your company do that for you?”

Step Six: Determining Willingness To Buy, or “weeding out”.
For example: “Do you plan to add, replace or upgrade any of your warehouse doors, dock equipment this year?” This question allows you to refine information about the prospect and determine if he going to be is in the market this year.

For more in-depth information on how to develop questions that will make your company money, contact us here.

In a later blog post, we’ll talk more about creating a well-developed script.

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