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You Must Ask This Question of Every B2B Sales Prospect on the First Discovery Call - SalesStaff - Blog

You Must Ask This Question of Every B2B Sales Prospect on the First Discovery Call

HubSpot posted an article in November about the most important question B2B sales pros should ask their prospects on the first discovery call, this per HubSpot’s Sales Director Dan Tyre. I’ll share the highlights with you.

The question you need to add to your discovery call toolbelt is:

“Have you ever made a purchase like this before?”

It’s a smart question and one I don’t hear very often from sales reps when I’m on the buyer side. As the article mentions, “the reply will determine the rep’s strategy throughout the process and can uncover valuable opportunities to educate the buyer.” How your prospect answers will help lead you down the right path.

If the Answer is ‘Yes’

Either way, their answer implies a ton of information about the prospect, especially a ‘Yes’ answer. You know that they:

  • See value in a solution like yours
  • Have identified and addressed the challenge you solve before

All of that means that you don’t have to pick up their journey from square one. You can start to dig in and find out why this is still a challenge that wasn’t solved by the previous solution and position your solution to address all those secondary concerns.

The blog author suggests a few different lines of questioning, including some of my favorites (paraphrased):

  • “What prompted you to buy that?”
  • “How do you feel about how that product has performed?”
  • “Tell me about the implementation process.”

A ‘Yes’ answer also leads to probing questions about how the buying process was handled, if there were more than one decision-maker, what their reaction was to the cost, and other questions regarding the process, in general. After all, they’ve been down this road before and helps to know how the road was paved.

If the Answer is ‘No’

So now you know you are starting from the ground floor. This means you should build value and confidence, layering them into the sales process. They’re going to need some hand-holding throughout the process, more than someone who’s made a similar purchase before.

There are smart ways to do that. As the article mentions, “the sales rep might say, ‘I’ve helped X clients with this type of purchase. Would you be interested in hearing the criteria most used to evaluate their options?’”

From experience, a ‘No’ answer means that you should address the following more in-depth than you would with a previous buyer of similar services:

  • Value
  • Buying process
  • Implementation
  • ROI
  • Pricing Model

In the words of the author:

“It might feel counterintuitive to ask the buyer about his former purchases when your first instinct is to keep the spotlight on your own product. But there are few questions that do more to close a deal.”

What questions do you ask your B2B sales prospects during your discovery calls?


Publish Date: March 29, 2017 5:00 AM

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