There are many ways to approach the prospect during an initial sales conversation. You can make a company introduction. You can talk about the company values. You can introduce your product and services. You can go over some case studies and share with your prospect about your past experiences. All this information is good and important.
However, after all that in the end have you ever had the feeling that your prospect is just not ready to go forward yet. It has nothing to do with your product or services. You have done a good job making the pitch. Does that sound familiar? Let me point out, the prospect will not go forward if he is not sure why he is talking to you. As stupid as it might sounds, it happens more often than we think. That why you always need to take a step back and verify these questions.
It is very important that you ask these questions and not deliver your assumption or your answers to the prospect. Many salespersons make the critical mistake of talking too much.
What motivates you to meet with us today?
Remind the prospect what motivates him to meet with you. Maybe he doesn’t want to meet with you. He is only meeting you because his boss is asking him to meet with you and that’s perfectly fine. If that is the case, then now you know that he is getting instruction and pressure from his boss. Therefore, later on in your conversation you can enforce how the company product or services can make him look good in front of his boss.
What are we trying to accomplish here today?
What does the prospect want to get done? Maybe the prospect wants a quotation from you, so he can justify his choice with another vendor. Maybe the prospect has no knowledge of the area and is trying to learn more from you. Maybe the prospect is ready to make an order if you can solve his problem. By verifying this question gives you an idea of where you stand.
Where are you today and where do you want to get to?
Have the prospect talk to his own goals. The prospect can be very knowledgeable about where he wants to get to, or in many cases the prospect is not even sure where he wants to get to. For example, in the wealth manage field, the prospect can say, my goal is to save money and have enough for retirement. Ok, that is just too vague. In this case you need to walk the prospect through. First, identify how much savings does he currently have, and how much he makes per month. Does he anticipate his salary to go up and by how much and when? Set the income goal for him. What is his monthly expense? How old is he now and how old does he want to retire? How much does it want to be able to spend monthly after requirement? Clarify all these with the prospect so you can help him reach his goals, and not your assumed goals.
What seems to be the problem for getting you where you want to be
Drawing the example from above. Let’s say the prospect wants to retire at age 60 and be able to spend on average USD 2,000 per month after retirement for the next 20 years. After you have gone through the math, with his current income and expense, it is just not possible. Therefore, you either have to make more, or you have the spend less. Find the problem with the prospect so you can help him target his problems and not your assumed problems.
Once you have gone through the 4 questions above with your prospect. Instead of you making a pitch based on your own assumption on the prospect, you now know exactly what the prospect wants. You can pinpoint the issue and be very specific about how you can help the prospect solve his issue. At the same time the prospect will be very clear about why he is meeting you today, the value of meeting with you today, and why he should go forward with you.