How many questions is the optimal number of questions to ask a prospect when calling them?
Why does this matter? Whose benefit is it for? What can I do with this information? Structuring your planning so that your sales calls reach a set outcome is part of your sales strategy and vital to your business growth and success. So, back to the quick quiz, the answer is 11-14 as highlighted in research by Gong. Read on to find out my top tips including question planning before calling your prospect. All the way through this article you will see the word call which will refer to telephone calls or face-to-face meetings. Send me a message to let me know if you agree with all of them or if there are any more I can add.
Top tip #1: Research, research and research some more.
Researching and finding out as much about the company, their competitors and the person you are calling should be the first action you take as part of your pre-call planning. All of the information you find out will help you with top tip #2. Knowing what the prospects needs solving helps you to explain how your product fits their need. Likewise, understanding what a competitor is doing e.g. using Instagram to sell to the same market gives you a plan to put to your prospect. Finally, understanding who the decision-maker in the business is key especially as you are likely to pass through the gate-keeper in your first contact and the aim is to get a meeting with the decision-maker.
Top tip #2: Plan your questions e.g. use pre-call planning template.
The importance of this cannot be overstated. Download my free pre-call planning template to print or use electronically. Sitting down and spending 15 minutes to complete this will prepare you for the call so that even challenges are planned for. When planning your questions work on what you need to achieve and what you need to give the prospect by the end of the call. Information gathering is just as important as information giving. The added benefit of this is that it helps you stay on track and keep to the time-limit for the call, preferably 30-60 minutes if already pre-arranged.
Top tip #3: Prepare for the unexpected.
When calling a prospect, you should always prepare for things that could go wrong. This is just as vital as preparing your questions. If you anticipate a few different scenarios, then you will be prepared with your responses. For example, the prospect mentions that they have the budget, but another company has offered to achieve the same results as you in half the time. Knowing how to respond to different scenarios will make you appear professional and courteous.
Top tip #4: Set a goal for what you want to achieve.
Preparing for the call also includes being aware of what information you need to gather as well as share with the prospect. By the end of the call you should have a next step planned to move the prospect closer to buying in your sales pipeline. This could be anything from a meeting set up with the decision-maker or giving them one of your products to try for free for a trial period, etc.
Top tip #5: Send an agenda to the prospect before the call.
Before the call send your prospect an agenda that passes on all the pertinent information about your product as well as a few bullet points of what you will cover in the call. Not only will this make you appear professional, but it will also save time for you and your prospect. Both of you can focus on the purpose of your goal leading to better outcomes for yourself and the prospect.
Top tip #6: Take 5 minutes to go over your notes before the call.
“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So, relax.” ― Bryant McGill
Use the time before the call to breathe, look over your plan and have a relaxing drink of tea. The difference in your calmness will shine through to your prospects installing a sense of professionalism.
Head over to my pre-call planning course which will help you improve your sales.