Once it is determined that there is a need for the product/service, the questions then must address the value it can bring to the prospect. Salespeople need to ask questions that "quantify the impact" of the business problem with numbers, percentages and time frames, the book said.
The secret to closing more sales with minimal effort begins with doing a superior job on the front end of the process.
That is according to How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don't Perform and What to Do About It, 2nd edition, written by Alan Riggs.
Careful consideration must be given upfront to determine whether the prospect is worthy of the salesperson's time and resources required to manage the sales cycle, the books says.
Before committing to the sales process, the salesperson needs to determine if there a business problem that the product or service can solve which the prospect is genuinely interested in.
"If the quantified impact of a business problem exceeds the investment required to fix the problem, a buying decision becomes easy to justify," Riggs wrote.
However, due to trust issues he adds, "In order for a quantified impact to add value to the selling process, the prospect must be the source of the numbers."
In other words, engage the prospect by working with them to assess the quantified impact for their company using the hard numbers they supply, not industry standards.
When a salesperson is able to effectively quantify the impact the solution would have, the book said, a "financial close" should be successful. "The larger the difference is between the quantified impact and the required investment, the easier it becomes to close the sale."
If there is a time frame issue, a "chronology close" would be more effective using the project plan date.
Or perhaps the prospect is having a difficult time making a decision, the book suggests using the Ben Franklin close. That is, creating a list of pros and cons on a piece of paper, in reference to Franklin's decision-making technique of drawing a "T" on the paper and listing both the positive and negatives of the buying decision.
Another close the book discussed is the "Thermometer Close," in which the salesperson asks the prospect to rate their interest level on a zero-to-ten scale, with zero meaning no interest. "If the prospect answers 'ten,' you're done," Riggs wrote. "Stop talking and write up the order."
But, if their answer is on the low end of the scale additional questions need to be asked to determine what objections need to be overcome to hear an answer of "ten," the book explained.
"This is a nice, non-threatening way to get the prospect to share with you any issues that are separating you from a sale."