5 Sales Questions that Help Define the Likelihood of Closing the Deal

A businessman is at the fork of the road...one goes the easy way and the other the hard way

Every salesperson has felt the pain of missing their sales quota. When you miss your target, it’s a terrible feeling. Not only will your take-home pay be affected but so will your reputation as an effective seller. 

There’s little you can do at this point except to reach for low-hanging fruit and those few deals that are closest to the finish line. But here’s a plan that can help you next time. Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it on non-productive opportunities. Be smart and selective in the opportunities you pursue so your success comes the “easy” way.

Use the following 5 questions to help establish which deals are worth pursuing and how aggressively. 

1. Which prospects fit the definition of your ideal target customer?
Create a crystal clear picture of your perfect prospect. Think both in terms of the individual, the company they represent and the situation. What sort of company is most likely to do business with you where you can help the most? What is the role of the person most likely to have the need and the influence to buy from you? Think too of your worst customers…you know, the ones you’d like to fire. Figure out the 5 most critical characteristics of each. Then let those lists be your guide as you prioritize the deals you want to chase.  At a minimum, your list should include target industry, size, location, situation, buyer, and the critical few attributes where you know your solution differentiates you from the competition.  Be wary of chasing deals with non-target clients.

2. How soon can you reach the decision maker?
Evaluate your chances of getting through to the person with both the influence and the budget to buy. Timing is everything. The faster the path to the top, the likelier the close in a timely fashion.  If you can’t get to the right decision maker and understand the decision making process and criteria, your time is probably better spent elsewhere.

3. How good a fit is your solution for the customer and where does the need rank among their strategic priorities?
Recall your solution selling training. When you have identified and articulated the client’s problem or goal, the better you can create a solution that fits. But you also need to evaluate how critical your solution is compared to the other initiatives on your customer’s (and their company’s) plate.

4. How do you stack up vis-à-vis the competition?
You never sell in a vacuum. Somewhere out there is another salesperson just as eager as you to close the deal. You’d better know who you are competing against and certainly if there is a preferred provider. Your analysis of your positioning will help determine whether or not you should pursue the opportunity.  If there is competition, you need to know where you stand on the critical few criteria that matter most to your buyer.

5. What do others think?
The best salespeople have a trusted adviser or team they can bounce ideas off of. Sometimes you are so close to the opportunities that you lose perspective as you try to weigh one against the other in terms of which are truly winnable. Use colleagues or an agreed-to opportunity scorecard to lend a more objective point of view or to offer a fresh approach that will pave the way to a quicker and higher probability close.

Thoughtful analysis can save you much time. Ask the questions that will help you focus on the opportunities that are most likely to bear fruit.

Learn more at http://www.lsaglobal.com/solution-selling-training/

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