30 Sales Qualifying Questions When Selling Solutions
Whatever your sales process, at some point you need to use sales qualifying questions to gather the data that will help you fully qualify an opportunity, understand the critical issues and craft the best solution for your client to succeed.
One of the sales qualification questions reps are most often encouraged to ask is about budget. Many sales forces use budget as the main qualifying factor that gives a red or a green light to continue the pursuit. If there’s sufficient budget, go for it; if there’s not, put on the brakes and look elsewhere for an opportunity that makes more financial sense.
For the most part, understanding what your client is willing to invest is valuable information. In our experience with solution selling training, however, budget should not be the most critical filter for pursuing an otherwise potentially sound opportunity.
When selling solutions to solve complex problems, success often depends on the way you frame and define the problem for the buyer, their customers and their business. The right thought-provoking questions not only can make a budget irrelevant based upon the potential value-add, but they provide a much more complete picture about which opportunities in your pipeline should be turned to red or green.
So it is not budget per se that matters. It is how you frame the value of the solution and the cost of inaction in the eyes of your target buyer and their business. Try getting clear answers to the following 30 questions to better understand how each opportunity fits into your sales pipeline:
Current Business Situation Sales Qualification Questions
(learn as much of this as possible before meeting with the client)
- What is the company’s strategic direction?
- How does the buyer’s team align with/help achieve that direction?
- What are the top 3-5 priorities of the company, your buyer, and their boss? Why?
- What are their greatest challenges/opportunities? Why?
- How is the company doing financially? Why?
- Have any major or recent changes taken place that we should know about?
Pain or Gain Sales Qualification Questions
- What specific problem is the client trying to solve/address?
- What specific pain is the problem causing? How is it felt? How do they know?
- What is the desired outcome?
- What are the specific benefits of solving the problem or fulfilling an opportunity?
- How will you know if success has been achieved?
- How did the problem or need come about?
- What has stopped it from being resolved before now?
- How does the problem manifest itself in your business?
- How important is this compared with the other things on your plate?
- Who/what else is affected? Who cares about solving it?
- How big is the problem – Strategically? Financially? Culturally?
- If we solved the problem what would that give you?
- What would happen if the problem was not solved?
Timing Sales Qualification Questions
- Is there a date by which you hope to see these results in place?
- What kind of time frame are you working within?
- Are there any timing issues that we should be aware of?
Division of Labor Sales Qualification Questions
- Were you hoping that we could handle this without taking up any of your people’s time, or did you want some of your people involved?
- What were your expectations as far as involving your own people on this project?
Decision Making Sales Qualification Questions
- Assuming we can get you the results we discussed, what are the steps you will go through to reach a good decision?
- What would have to happen for you to say with confidence that this makes sense?
- In order for this to be a high-quality decision for you and your company, who has to agree that this is a good idea?
- What will you have to see, hear or experience before you can be confident in making a final decision?
- If we agree that it seems to make good sense to work together, is there anyone else in the company who may feel differently?
- At this point, it seems as if you can get some outside help, do it yourself, or take no action at this time. Is “no action” a possibility?
While it is true that you do not want to waste your time on opportunities with prospects that cannot afford your solutions, it is also true that few decision makers pass on investments that make business sense. To increase your win rate and to differentiate yourself from the competition, make sure that you paint a clear and compelling vision of success for each and every client in a way that makes sense for their unique strategy and corporate culture.
To learn more about selling solutions, please download How to Identify and Meet the “Right” People in Your Strategic Accounts