Here are the fourteen absolutely indispensable power tools that should be in every sales rep's bag of tricks:
- What can you tell me about your organization... and yourself?
- What do you like about what you're currently doing?
- What don't you like about your current situation?
- What would you like to be enhanced or improved?
- What can you tell me about your priorities?
- What prompted you to start this project now?
- What can you tell me about your decision-making process?
- How do you handle budget considerations?
- What other options are you looking at?
- What can you tell me about the people involved in the process?
- What obstacles are in the way of moving this forward?
- How will you be evaluating different options?
- How will the funding for the project be justified?
- How much support does this have at the executive level?
The questions are adapted from some material provided by the sales wunderkind Barry Rhein. Seriously, you've got to check this guy out. Freakin' amazing stuff.
UPDATE (6/18, 2:30pm Eastern): About half an hour ago, I called a former client who had sent me an email inquiring if I were open to doing some contract writing. Immediately before the sales call, I reviewed the questions in this post to make sure that, during the call, I found out everything that I needed in order to close. The call ended with a request from the client for me to write a brief proposal, with some numbers, which in this business means I closed the deal. The project will put an additional $8000 a year (or so) in my pocket, with very little additional work on my part. So this stuff really works. I just proved it.