What about THEIR cost?

Prospects want to know how much your service costs, but how often will we ask them what their cost will be if they decide not to  solve their issues?  In other words, assuming they have admitted a big problem and a few big implications of that problem, yet are a bit hesitant about the cost, it can’t hurt to follow up with something like – ‘I completely understand your hesitation. Although this my sound like a weird question, based on the issues you shared with me, what would you say is the cost of NOT addressing those issues? Would it not be greater?’  It takes some guts to ask it, but if done the right way, with a tone of really trying to help them be better, it really helps.

What would you say if you were me?

Sometimes prospects have asks that are a bit unreasonable, maybe on price, length of contract, level of service, etc.  If it’s pretty out of the ordinary, responding with something like ‘That’s tough. If you were in my shoes, how would you respond to that?’ (while laughing a bit)  It helps them have a little empathy.  See more at www.SalesShare.net

Dude, just give me a demo

To those prospects that don’t want to hear anything from you at all but a demo, it makes you VERY uncomfortable.  One response I found helpful is ‘Sure. Just so I can tailor this for you and save time, which part of the service / product are you most interested in?’ This at least tries to call them out on what is important to them.

Deep thought

The following responses from prospects demonstrate that you are asking really thoughtful, effective questions: ‘That’s a really good question,’ or ‘I’ve never really thought about that before’ or ‘We’ve been seeing that too’ or ‘That’s actually a big problem for us’ or just a big ‘SIGH’ of deep thought. Work backwards to see how you can get there.

How satisfied ?

‘How satisfied are you with…’ cannot fail. We get scared to ask this question on a discovery call, yet it can be quite effective in the middle of the conversation. ‘This may sound a bit direct, but how satisfied would you say the team has been with fund performance this year?’ You’ll get the answer one way or another.

Asking for a story

We’re taught to share stories with prospects, yet it’s also powerful to have them share stories with you, allowing them to build on the problem. How? Once they share what problem they are having, some great follow ups are (1) ‘How often does that happen?’ and (2) ‘Is there a particular time when this issue came up?’  They will likely share a story with you that helps them want to solve it, uncovering information not otherwise uncovered.  See more at www.SalesShare.Net

To what extent

I find this is a great way to measure the degree of your prospect’s problem, allowing them to share more. When a prospect shares a problem with you, following up with something like ‘I see. Just curious, to what extent would you say that is actually a problem for you?’ will allow them to share specific stories about it, building pain. I learned this from ‘Question Based Selling’ (best sales book ever).

Not your reasons

Top salespeople are familiar with this concept by @Daniel Pink, and it is more than worth a share — “We tend to think that persuasion or motivation is something that one person does to another. And what the social science tells us very clearly is that it’s really something that people do for themselves. And your job as a persuader, as a motivator, is to RESET THE CONTEXT and surface people’s OWN reasons for doing something, because it works a lot better.”


When you end up being told what problem your prospect is having, now you can finally have FUN!  Following up with CURIOUS questions helps you get to the impact of the problem, the great SWEET SPOT in sales. Examples include: (1) “Out of curiosity, why do you think you are having that problem?”, (2) “Very interesting, have you tried solving that problem in the past or has it not really been a priority?” (3) “This may sound like a weird question, but have you thought about the impact that problem is having, maybe ever tried to quantify it?”  See SALES SHARE #8 on QUESTION CUSHIONING. 

Admit your faults

There are many reasons why your prospect may not see the value in your service.  If you are sensing that they’re not seeing value during your discovery call, responding with something like, “I’m sorry, it’s my fault for not conveying the value the way I should be” allows your prospect to commiserate with you a bit, and give you the chance to do better and re-start.  Granted, we want to ensure this does not happen, but if it does, it can give you another window to take a few steps back on the call, which is always good.