A few weeks ago, we talked about the importance of really digging in and exploring a prospect’s P.A.I.N. once you’ve found it. But in order to find the pain in the first place, you have to get your prospect talking.
While that might seem like an easy task, sometimes you have to steer the conversation in the right direction in order to really get to the root of their problem.
After you’ve created a buying atmosphere, there are three essential questions—a “question bundle” if you will—that you can ask to really get the pain flowing.
Creating that buying atmosphere is the bridge between building rapport and moving into the needs analysis. As a reminder, the very last step in creating a buying atmosphere is to ask the question, “Does that sound fair?” Because let’s be honest—everyone wants a fair situation, right? If you’ve done your job up to this point, the prospect is likely to chime in with something like, “Man you’re singing my tune,” or “Couldn’t have said it better myself.”
Your response to that should be, “Great, now I’m going to let you do the talking,” and move on to the Question Bundle.
The Question Bundle: Tell Me Something Good
In order to encourage your prospect to open up, you’re now going to ask them three very specific questions and it’s key that you deliver them all at once (that’s why we call it the question bundle). What comes next can be very telling, because people will always answer the one that is most important to them first. So you’ll gain some insight into where they are simply based on the order in which they answer the questions.
Ask them these 3 questions about their current situation (all at once):
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- Is there anything else that would help me understand your situation better?
Your next step? Shut up, and listen!
Need to Know
I was speaking recently with a coaching client who works in tech sales about how to improve his process for the needs analysis with prospective new clients. Often, if someone is looking at a new piece of software or a service, they’re usually looking at new vendors because they’re A) unhappy with their current vendor, B) don’t have a current vendor, or C) are just looking to see what’s out on the market.
With so many different situations a prospect could be coming from, the question bundle is the fastest way to uncover what their needs really are. So many salespeople are afraid to ask what’s actually working, because they don’t want the prospect to speak positively at all about their current situation. This is a huge mistake. The only way you can determine if you can give the prospect what they need is by truly understanding what they’re getting now.
By bundling the three questions together, however, you’ll find out very quickly which category the prospect falls into. If people are really in pain, they will respond almost instantly with “Yeah, I’ll tell you what’s not working!” If they’re at the level of exasperation and pain where their first response is to literally beg you to please just solve the problem for them, then you’ve just expedited the needs analysis and dug out the pain!
You Can’t Have It All
But maybe the prospect isn’t upset with their current vendor. Maybe they don’t even have a reason to think they need to make a switch. This is particularly true in cold-calling situations. In those instances, I like to use the magic wand trick. Ask, “If I were able to hand you a magic wand, what would you change about your situation?” And you know what? They can always think of something!
People will often say they’re happy with their current situation and justify its failings by saying something like, “You can’t have everything, right?” Well, why not?! You should demand excellence, and if it’s out there and someone can provide it, then why not go get it? As a salesperson, it may feel uncomfortable to say, “Well, why can’t you have the program you want and the quality of service that you want?” Really challenging your prospects to open up to you is key to closing tough deals.
And remember, once you find the pain, use the P.A.I.N. Technique to take things to the next level.
Are you truly listening to your prospects and clients? Are you asking the tough questions? If not, it’s time to start. Don’t let fear hold you back from becoming the best salesperson you can be.
Until next time—go sell some stuff!