Prospects hate sales qualifying questions. Sellers have to strike a balance between understanding buyers’ needs and qualifying their ability to purchase.
To do so, avoid these landmines:
- Asking self-serving questions. Questions about their ability to buy seem self-serving!
- Allowing your internal processes to become a roadblock. If your processes require you to ascertain where prospects are located, how much they can spend, the number of users they will have, or other bucketing information, consider how this sounds to the prospect. People don’t want to be sorted.
- Signaling that someone may not be worth your time. There’s an inherent problem with the question “are you the decision maker?” For information gatherers, it suggests that you’re not going to provide what they need.
How Sales Qualifying Questions Can Backfire
Buyers defensively answer sales qualifying questions in partial truths. Some won’t admit their lack of authority. Others are standing in for the decision maker and will represent themselves that way until it’s truly time for a decision. It’s not uncommon to have layers of decision making – the person you speak to first truly is the decision maker, but only for this phase of the process. And so on.
This question isn’t effective. You risk offending prospects and operating on incorrect information. Asking someone about their own authority builds barriers and impairs trust.
To avoid these landmines when qualifying buyers:
- Explain the purpose for your questions to show prospects your desire to help them, too, not just yourself.
- Mix questions up. Start with broad, open-ended questions to understand the buyer’s needs.
- Roll up questions and ask fewer of them. Make each one purposeful and interesting!
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