Years of experience serving as outsourced B2B lead generation experts have trained our Business Development Executives to grasp the attention of a prospect by successfully representing our client and uncovering business problems in order to provide business solutions.
Getting to the Conversation
How do you engage a prospect in a conversation when it is likely that he or she will try and get off the phone with you as soon as possible?
I’ve written before about creating a sense of urgency in order to keep someone on the phone long enough to get a meaningful conversation started. I’ve also explored the success of keeping your message simple, easy to understand, and compelling in order to entice a prospect.
An important ingredient to both of these successful techniques is asking open-ended questions.
Remember, the goal of any teleprospecting call is to get the prospect to open up and talk about their current situation.
If you ask yes or no questions, the prospect will answer with a simple yes or no, and you will find yourself talking again when you should be listening.
What Kinds of Questions Get People Talking?
You can’t offer up a business solution, service, or product if you don’t understand the business pain of your prospect. Asking open-ended questions will prompt them to offer up the right information.
Questions to Ask of a Key Decision Maker:
- How are you currently handling “x”?
- Is this a homegrown solution or are you using an outside product or service?
- How long has this system been in place, and what aspects are unsatisfactory?
None of these questions can be answered with a simple yes or no.
Assuming, as the caller, that you have done your homework and understand the business solution you are representing, whatever the prospect answers to these open-ended questions will allow you to further the conversation with proper follow-up responses.
Example Questions: Customer-Based Company
Do you consider your company to be customer-centric?
If you ask the question differently, “Are you looking for any customer-centric solutions for your company?” then you are handing the prospect an out.
The way the first question is worded leads the prospect to talk more about specific aspects of their particular company, which often leads them to reveal very valuable information. This allows for a pointed follow-up question that will no doubt continue the conversation:
Is improving customer service important to your company?
It’s doubtful that you are going to get a no answer to that question. When they say yes, be ready with:
How much of a priority is it? What steps are you actively taking to become more of a customer-centric organization or improve customer service?
You’ve started a real conversation at this point, hopefully sparked the interest of your prospect, and now you have a direction.
Finally, here is an example of a question that can support the solution you offer, and is thought-provoking enough to open up a real discussion:
What objectives for cost reduction have you established for the current situation?
A question like this can be tweaked to be more specific, but whatever you add, it should make your prospect sit up a little straighter and take note because it accomplishes two things:
- He or she will understand that they are talking to someone who knows about business.
- If they don’t know the answer to this question, then they should start thinking about it now.
Perhaps while you are still on the phone with them, and can offer possible solutions.
Listen First, Talk Later
For complex business solutions, products, or services, the goal should be to listen first, talk later. Any of the above questions can be tweaked for your unique situation.
If these don’t work, look at your current cache of go-to questions and see if they can be altered to be more open-ended.
The more you get your prospect talking, the more likely they are to take the next step with you.
Do you have any questions that are proven to get a prospect talking and open up about a business pain? Please share in the comments.