Best Sales Probing Questions to Build a Customer’s Profile

By April 17, 2016Inbound Sales, Sales, SDR
probing-questions

What are they?

Probing questions are there to help you prepare for a demo or a sales meeting with your prospect. These questions help reveal your prospect and check out if they fit your ideal customer profile.

Why would I use them?

To be able to quickly narrow down your huge prospect list to the one’s that are likely to buy. These questions help to save time and become more productive

What’s in it for me?

What do you mean? All in one list of questions to ask your prospects! Learn these and you are halfway to being a sales guru. Well, theoretically.

101 Basics:

Basic questions are designed to reveal the customer and quickly eliminate ones that you’re incapable to help. Therefore, you’re unable to close them. Having said that, you should have done a fair bit of research to not sound unintelligent in your first rendezvous. Just in case you are unprepared, here is a good start to basic probing questions (a.k.a. Prospecting 101).

What do you offer to your customers?
Ask what your prospect’s selling. Find out what kind of business field are they in. Usually, it could be done prior the call, if you did your homework and researched your prospect.

What is your ideal customer?
To reveal customers that are buying from your prospect. Just when theirs field is too broad, you can ask this question and find out more about your prospect and draw a clearer picture.

Why would you be interested in something we offer?
Just to see what is the reason that you’re sitting with them in one room. Why are they interested in your product? It’s important to see if your prospect’s just window-shopping or are fully committed to making a deal.

What is the main priority right now in your business?
The money goes where the main focus is. If you’re solving a problem that is not relevant to your prospect – 9 out of 10 deals will not close. Figure out does your value proposition fit their top goals in view!

Who else will be a part of this project?
Just to see if you’re talking with a right people. The decision makers and not wasting your time with those just researching market for better options.

What budget portion are you willing to allocate?
Money talks. If you don’t have the money, I don’t have time to talk with you. Instead, I could be talking with someone who has and closing them. A clear budget is a good sign to reveal that they’re willing to buy.

102. Getting to know a prospect:

Now that all those basics are checked out and they seem to qualify your own ideal customer profile, start getting to know them better. Beware! They may still not qualify even if they fit your ideal customer profile.

Are you using something similar to… <<fill your solutions value proposition>>?
Maybe they are already using a competitor or a similar product and maybe they are looking for a more valuable option. Your demo could become a comparison, if they do. That’s why important to research your industry and your prospects. (Do your homeworks!)

Follow-up: If they are, why are they here?
What your competitors did wrong that you would be willing to fix and provide value? Find that little mishap and emphasize it, tell them how it could become a devastating growth’s mistake in such a fast-paced business environment.

What goals are you trying to achieve by using our product?
Just a direct hit, what do they want from you? Well, more like what are they expecting from you. It is mandatory question in any deal you want to close in a very beginning. Else, you could be talking about things that are not relevant to them.

103. Painting a new and better future:

These questions will help you to emphasize how important your product is and how amazing investment it is. Just know your product and if your customer qualified well enough previously, they will likely to make a purchase.

What changes do you think our product will bring in your company?
Let them say it, if they’re are saying it will be just an extra hassle and pretty much a money sinkhole. Then tell them otherwise, if they really qualify your ideal customer. If they start bragging your product, you already in the final straight.

When do you plan on implementing our product, if all goes well?
Urgency can be a great motivator. If you offer a product that does what they need and they ARE in desperate need of it. Deal will close.

What would happen if you decide to postpone the deal?
It’s there to draw a dark future that will soon be upon prospect’s company. But only if they decide to refuse the deal or decide to wait. Maybe later you won’t even be able to help them. Maybe it will even have a huge business impact that later will cost them millions.

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And that’s it folks! We know you’re busy. Don’t forget that you can make up your own probing questions. It’s not difficult, just requires a little bit imagination. Feel free to distribute this paper with your co-workers, if you liked what you’ve read.

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by Jonas Matkevicius

Jonas is a marketing specialist at SalesChakra. He is a certified inbound marketer who drives social media engagement and optimizes content for audiences. He loves to write on sales, non profits and entrepreneurship.