by Mike Brooks
First, for those of you who have seen me live, you know that I am big on questioning your prospects during the qualification stage. As I’ve said – your prospects have all the answers as to why they will buy or not buy, and it is your job to get them to reveal this to you.
While asking well thought out, scripted questions is certainly a good start, you will get the most thorough and complete information if you learn to use layering questions.
Only the top sales reps use layering questions, and the reason they are so valuable is because they get your prospect to go a little deeper into an area of interest they have, or in an area of concern. By scripting out and using layering questions, you will be able to fully understand what is driving your prospect to make a decision, and/or why your prospect might not be ready to do business with you.
Obviously, knowing this information will move you that much closer to getting the sale.
Here are some examples of layering questions you can use during the prospecting phase to learn who and what is motivating the buying decision:
When qualifying to find out who is involved in the decision process, you’re going to start with a nice assumptive question like:
“Besides yourself, who else is involved in the decision process?”
And when they say their spouse, manager, or boss, etc., you then layer the question by asking ‘
“And what do you think they would do?” Or, “What direction are they leaning in regards to this?” Or, “What do they usually do in this kind of situation?”
Another example of effective layering questions to expose possible objections before you get ambushed by them while closing:
If your prospect is looking at other vendors:
“Tell me __________, who else are you looking at in regards to this solution?”
And your layering questions:
“And which companies look good to you so far?” Or, “Who are you leaning towards right now?” Or, “If you had to make a decision today, who would you go with?”
And then ask, “Why is that?”
You must listen carefully to each response you get because your prospects will often reveal the objection that is going to kill your sale later on. Top 20% reps would rather know this information NOW rather than send out their info, go through the trouble of trying to track them down, go through a long presentation, and then get the no. I’m sure you can understand why…
Layering questions are effective, powerful and easy to ask. If you want to get instantly better, then use the two above (or adapt them to your sale), and begin to write more of your own. Either way, the more layering questions you use, the more information you’ll get and the more sales you’ll close.