Ask These Questions To Find Clients’ Pain Points

It's a drain on your time, effort and budget to try to sell to prospects who either can't or won't buy. While your prospects must have the authority and money to invest, they also need to have some pain points in their business that need solving for the company to grow and function successfully. Without those, there's no need to buy.

Dan Tyre, sales director at HubSpot, says it's up to salespeople to uncover business pain points as quickly as possible by asking effective sales questions. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we dig into eight questions that can help you identify a customer's pain points.

1. What's the biggest inhibitor to company growth? This question gets straight to the heart of the matter. Since many prospects likely haven't considered this question, it also positions sales professionals as thoughtful and credible. Tyre says business pain typically is related to revenue, customers, employees, product or investment capital.

2. What's your biggest hairball? Consider this a more lighthearted version of the first question. Tyre likes to use it because it has personality and evokes an image of chaos that people can relate to. It's also more personal. You're asking prospects what's painful to them.

3. What does your boss obsess about? If you're talking to someone a few levels below the top dog in an organization, this question can help you glean important insight. A manager's pain points usually filter down into direct reports, and while they don't view pain in the same way, a win for the manager is often a win for the entire team as well.

4. What takes up the most time in your day? Salespeople know that prospects care more about value than features, and this question reveals the concrete value of your offering. Ask your prospect how solving a business pain would impact their team. Would it save them two hours in a workday? Could they reduce their time spent in meetings? Dig deeper to see exactly how you could help.

5. What has been repeatedly discussed at meetings? Business pain can't be fixed quickly or easily. What keeps the company president or CEO up at night? What do senior managers put on their quarterly planning agendas? What do employees talk about constantly? Look for this kind of business pain.

6. What are your gripes? Tyre says this question might seem petty, but it'll give you valuable insight. What begins as a complaint about running out of copier paper might reveal bigger pain points such as a reduced budget. A copy paper complaint might seem minor, but it can shed light on a larger issue that you have the resources to solve.

7. Why are we losing deals? If you offer more features at a higher cost than a competitor but you're still losing deals to them, you've uncovered budget as a business pain point. Tyre encourages salespeople to contemplate whether they need to get better at selling or trimming unnecessary services or features from certain plans.

8. Why are customers churning? Just because you close a deal doesn't mean your client's pain points go away. Consider why customers are dropping your business and address those pain points just as you would in the sales process.

True business pain isn't something that would just be nice to solve. It's something that must be addressed immediately and effectively. Before your next sales call, use the questions above to figure out the business pain points that ail your prospects.

Source: Dan Tyre is sales director at HubSpot. He's also a speaker, author, adviser, mentor, investor and board member with extensive experience in hyper-growth environments.

filed under May 2019
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