Turning Inquiries into Income

Everyday millions of amateur salespeople answer phone calls and emails without asking the prospect any questions. Companies are spending thousands of dollars to make the phone ring, only to have an untrained salesperson miss the opportunity to turn an inquiry into income. If you feel this happening to you or within your organization, hopefully the following questions will help you and your sales force improve their results and increase your company’s top-line revenue.

What made you decide to call today? This inquiry may uncover the buying motive. Have the guts to ask the questions and you may uncover the main reasons why your prospects and/or established customers are calling you today. When you go fishing next time, it’ll be nice to know what lures the fishing are biting on. This helps you become proactive with future sales.

Can I ask how did you hear about us? This will tell you what marketing vehicles are working and the expectation your prospect has based on which ad they saw. It will also tell you about the type of person your prospect is (different media outlets appeal to different people).

“What is it about our advertising message that made you decide to contact us?” If your ad copy addresses specific problems a prospect has, you have just found out a major buying signal.

What are you using now? If they answer this question, it may disclose all or at least part of the problem they’re trying to solve. You can then ask them why they chose the current product or service and how the decision-making process works within their company. “I’m trying to save money without sacrificing quality but, it’s also what my boss told me to buy.” Now you know that quality is important along with cost-savings and this person’s boss is who really makes the decisions. By the way, this is good information to know when working on a proposal.

Besides ours, are there any other products or suppliers you’re interested in? If you think you are the only company they are talking to about their problem, you’re probably mistaken. This is your time to find out which companies you may be competing with and to hone your competitive edge.

These questions are not listed in any specific order and they may need to be altered to fit your industry. The point is to develop high-gain questions and practice using them to uncover more information from the prospect.

Without extracting enough information from a prospect or customer, you won’t know what information you, in turn, should be providing them.