5 Discovery Questions That Create Winning Sales Dialogue

By Kelly Riggs | Sales + Leadership

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Mar 02

5 Discovery Questions That Create Winning Sales Dialogue


 

Question: What’s missing from the majority of sales calls?

The right questions.

Information is paramount in creating the opportunity to win a sale. In fact, although a number of factors will ultimately influence the outcome of a sale – key relationships, reputation, personal credibility, solution capabilities and others – it is almost always true that the person with the best information is the person who, at the end of the day, captures the sale. [ >>Click HERE to Tweet this.]

And good information is always a product of insightful questions.

The important thing to remember is that “information” is not limited to just the data describing the opportunity. Certainly, that information is significant since it will inform the development of a solution and lead to potentially innovative ideas in your proposal. However, it is critically important to also discover the “motivations” behind the opportunity, and those motivations vary with each of the individuals that can influence the outcome of the sale.

“Motivation” means that a prospect is not only looking for a solution, they want a solution for specific reasons. For instance, solving a given problem may create political capital, enhance their public image, create economic leverage, advance a personal agenda, or provide other similar benefits.

 

Five Great Discovery Questions:

So, the savvy salesperson understands the need to acquire information relative to the solution itself, and, along the way, develop an understanding of the buying motivations driving the opportunity. This presents two distinctly different challenges:

—  Determining exactly what information is critical to a specific opportunity (information that won’t be found in an RFP or be found in the specifications for a possible solution).

—  Getting the prospect to share that “hidden” information with you.

What we tend to forget is that the most meaningful information is usually revealed in a thoughtful dialogue about core issues relevant to the opportunity. But getting to that dialogue requires some preparation regarding the questions that will best produce that dialogue.

At the same time, the depth of information you can potentially discover is influenced dramatically by the quality of your relationship and the amount of credibility you have developed with the prospect.

So, here are five questions to consider that are designed to create a productive dialogue and lead to the discovery of a prospect’s buying motivations:

1. If you could draw things up exactly the way you want, how would this project go forward?
2. What does success in this project do to help your efforts?
3. In your opinion, what issues could keep this project from moving forward?
4. What barriers are standing in the way of solving this problem?
5. Where could your team use the most help in moving forward?

 

Use these question to develop a list of your own customized “discovery” questions.

If you have some great ideas, share them with me in the comment section below.

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About the Author

Kelly Riggs is a business performance coach and founder of the Business LockerRoom. A former national Salesperson of the Year and serial entrepreneur, Kelly is a recognized thought leader in the areas of sales, management leadership, and strategic planning. He serves clients ranging from small, privately held companies to Fortune 500 firms. Kelly has written two books: “1-on-1 Management™: What Every Great Manager Knows That You Don’t” and “Quit Whining and Start SELLING! A Step-by-Step Guide to a Hall of Fame Career in Sales.”