When you are qualifying a prospect or finding the problems as I call it, you want to probe deep inside to find the logical and emotional reasons why they want what you are offering.
I have also seen this form of questioning put in a different way, when you're selling to businesses; you want to uncover the business and the personal pain. I will cover both interpretations so you will learn more about this phase of the qualifying process.
Let's talk about the business and personal pain example first:
Let's suppose you are selling copiers, and you ask the prospect why they're interested in a new copier. They proceed to tell you how the current copier breaks down quite frequently. That answer only scratches the surface of the problem.
So next, you might ask them how long this has been a problem, or what else have they tried to solve the problem. Or even better yet, what has been the cost to their business in time or money lost?
They tell you how their staff is falling behind in work, or they were unable to get a report to a client on time. That's the business pain, or logical reason. Don't stop there, because if you dig a little deeper, you're apt to find something more.
Perhaps they were late getting to their son's baseball game, missed it all together, or the boss is upset with them for not getting the report done on time. That's the personal or emotional pain, and that's the reason they will buy the new copier.
They will usually buy it for the personal or emotional reason, and then justify it with the business or logical reason. I'm sure you can see why uncovering both reason gives you such power when it comes time to present your product or service as the solution to ease their pain.
Here is another example. Say you're selling houses and you ask the buyer what's important to them in buying a home. Let's say the answer is 'getting a real nice home at a fair price'. Okay, that's logic, now we need to find the emotional reason.
So, your next question is, "What would getting a really nice home at a fair price give you?" And they say, "It will give me a feeling of security, knowing I have a great place of comfort to raise my family." That's emotional!
Once you know the personal or emotional reasons for wanting something, you can then see if your product or service will satisfy their needs or solve their problem.
Here are a few examples of leading questions:
"How has this problem affected your company?"You should continue to ask leading questions, and dig as deep as you can to uncover as many emotional reasons for the prospect to want to change their current situation. You are helping the prospect see how much not making this purchase is costing them, and in many different ways.
"How has it affected you personally?"
"What are the consequences if the problem continues?"
"How are your customers affected?"
You want to get them to the point where they are practically begging you to give them a solution. Once they're at that point, the transition to the presentation of your product or service will come naturally.
Another point to remember, when you ask your questions, and while the prospect is giving you their answer, listen and pay attention to their verbal and nonverbal language. In other words, listen to what they say, how they say it, their facial expressions, and their body language as well. Everything you see and hear will give you clues as to where to direct your questions, and whether you are leading your prospect in the right direction.
If you are unable to uncover a personal or emotional need for the prospect to make a change, then its best at that point to break off the meeting, thank them for their time and move on to the next prospect.
Too many sales people will continue without finding a motivation for the prospect to buy, and then wonder why they can't close the sale.