An engaging conversation starts by asking the right questions. The questioning techniques can help you understand the needs and demanding solutions of your customers. As a result, this will lead you to make sales or close deals. On the other hand, failing to do so can prevent you from earning.
Fergal Glynn, a writer on HubSpot, says, "...the best salespeople know exactly which questions to ask in order to uncover customer needs and to coach them through a sale."
So, what better way to start a potential sales conversation? By asking appropriate probing questions, you can gather new information and understand the situation without offending anyone.
However, you may need ample time, research, and determination to earn such valuable skills. In this article, we'll learn what a probing question is and what are compelling examples of probing.
Sometimes, prospects may hesitate to disclose information. In this case, sales reps use probing questions to clarify a point or deepen their understanding of a particular information.
The probing questions work like 'follow-up' questions that guide your prospect and customer to increase cooperation and reveal information that you can use to facilitate closing.
You can use probing questions in a variety of situations such as:
Sales reps should master the art of asking probing questions. It's an opportunity for businesses to learn detailed information about a prospect, generate more leads, and receive greater revenue.
These are a few of the most common probing questions examples you can use to identify the needs of your prospects and customers.
Identify the current challenges of your prospects. You can do this by asking ‘when did the problem start’ or ‘when did you notice things are out of the way.’
This will allow you to learn the root cause of the problem and for how long did the problem exist to mitigate a solution.
Once the challenges are identified, we want to get a better understanding of the problem. You can do this by visualizing how it looks or sounds through probing questions.
For example, if you think your company was able to handle other customers in a similar situation, link it back from your previous experience to suggest a potential fix.
In order to discover the degree of the problem, ask if the prospect made actions to attend to the problem. This can ensure that we are not passing on advice that has previously failed.
Not to talk negatively about other people's products/services, but this question aims to find the missing piece that will enable your prospect to resolve the issue and recognize if the resources they have are sufficient.
Sometimes, prospects reach out when they expect that you can handle their existing problem. Although this is a good sign for your market, it's fair to simply ask probing questions to hear their thoughts and manage their expectations.
Intent differs from one person to another. In your case, how would you find out the motive of your prospects? What are they planning to achieve, and how did they plan to do so?
A counterpart of 'biggest fear' comes with the powerful probing question about the expectations your prospect set to accomplish.
If everything goes to plan, would they be satisfied with the result? Would they think it's worth it?
Everything has positive and negative factors. However, listing down the pros and cons of the problem and the proposed solution can help you and your prospect examine and assess both sides.
Does your prospect have competitors around the area? If they did, have they experienced the same problem? Does the issue persist with other businesses?
Learning a thorough answer to these questions will help you resolve the problem like no other.
The factors affecting your prospect's decision-making process can help you evaluate the way they think and the way your offers can fulfill the criteria. These factors may include the cost, terms, and functionality.
Services often require time to finish. Others last for a few days or weeks, while others expect a longer partnership. But in order to solve a particular problem, it's appropriate to know how urgent they would require you to work.
Learning upon the time frame can help you prioritize the problem and set up their expectations.
How much does the prospect lose trying to solve the problem in terms of finances, time, and resources? What are the effects of the problem financially?
And how does this affect the workforce? Make sure to suggest efficient solutions that can ease their expenses.
Probing questions are also meant to clarify answers. By asking this question, you are respectfully leading the prospect to clearly explain the situation with examples.
This way, you are confirming the details, while prospects articulate the problem well.
If you need help finding prospects, you can check out our prospecting guide.
It seems like an easy question, but this is actually a thought-provoking inquiry that allows your prospect to think twice before coming up with the decision.
Whether they bought what you sell or not, this will help them recognize patterns that they had subconsciously missed.
Besides the most common probing questions we listed above, there are various probing questions sales reps can ask from their prospects and customers. There are several categories in order to discover more probing questions you can apply for your next sales calls. Some of these are the following:
Sales reps have limited time to build relationships over the surface. So instead of wasting time on empty fillers, sales reps must show that prospects can trust them. You can do this by asking rapport-building questions such as:
A probing questions use at the early stage of the sales process. Its main objective is to uncover the challenges that your prospect face and the motivation to resolve them. For example:
This aims to design an appropriate resolution for your prospect and understand if your product/service fits into their criteria and meets their expectation. This includes:
Not every situation requires the same steps. Before sales reps could even implement the processes to secure the sale, they must first learn about the buying process questions like the following:
Before presenting an alternative fix, inquire about the budget set aside by your prospect in implementing the solution. Learning every source of income could come in handy in budgeting questions as well. Examples are:
Once you establish a rapport, you can now dive in with deep probing questions to uncover critical information that you can ask at any point in the process.
Since sales probing questions support cooperation between the sales team and prospects, both parties makes it easier to find applicable answers to the existing problem.
Sales reps know how to ask questions confidently. However, most of them have no predetermined thoughts on what types of questions to ask. Some stick to leading questions instead of guiding prospects to answer broad to narrow open questions.
Indeed, it is challenging to learn probing techniques and apply them effectively in sales. However, since we've already mentioned some of the most sales probing questions, let's talk about how you can weave prospects into customers using these tips.
Before calling your prospects, always try to get a better sense of who they are, what industry they belong to, and how it is structured.
Most of the time, sales reps opt to go for LinkedIn to get more information. Yet, the problem with this is that not every business has detailed information written on its LinkedIn profile.
Hence, you can check other channels to get more insight into your prospects and their teams, including the company website, social media profile, and customer reviews. You can even look at their competitors to see how they are doing in the market.
Aim to know more about your prospects - their pain points, concerns, objectives, and end-goal. However, asking questions that involve the word 'or' limits the way they answer the question.
So instead of saying, "Does the problem affect your business or it didn't do as much damage?", you can ask: "How did the problem heavily affect different parts of your business?"
The former is answerable by a one-way response, while the latter allows you to get descriptive answers. So, which one do you think is more helpful in getting elaborate answers with powerful data points?
Sales calls put an end to the phrase "listening in order to respond."
A good communication happens when the caller and the receiver allow one another to listen attentively and speak at the right time.
Doing this will move your prospect to elaborate on the current situation and share the challenges they face. It also sets up a relationship on the right foot, as the prospect feels heard.
An experienced sales rep uses the proper judgment to brought up specific questions at a particular time. Meanwhile, prospects are willing to answer probing questions when it was asked timely.
As a result, you can gain more information about their business, concerns, and the demands they need.
Sales probing questions are an excellent way to dig up the main objective and goals of your prospects. Once you learn them, you're now one step close to proposing an effective solution using your product/service.
The TED approach refers to Tell, Explain, and Describe. For example, you can say,
By starting your probing questions with TED, you can nudge your customers to give you a specific detail regarding a specific issue or problem.
End the probing questions with closed questions or answerable questions with limited options, usually "yes" or "no". This is common when you want to reaffirm the statement while making sure you and your prospect (or future customer) are on the same page.
Regardless of what kind of job you do or what kind of people you talk to over the phone, it's essential to show optimism to establish trust and engaging conversation. Therefore, a positive attitude leads to a productive outcome and lasting relationship for you and your customer.
Prospects and customers have a deep motive or underlying reasons why they may want to talk to you. Whether you initiated the conversation or they did, it's your responsibility to understand the situation, build rapport, and offer solutions based on what you offer.
You can start a good conversation by asking effective probing questions. The following questions mentioned above will help you get started to turn every opportunity into a good one.
If you're looking for assistance to ask effective probing questions or other sales techniques, please give us a call, and we'll be happy to connect you with the best lead generation partners in the United Kingdom.