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The Needs Analysis Questions Sales People Must Always Ask Prospects

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Sales people are told to conduct a thorough needs analysis with their prospects, but what questions should be asked? In this episode of the Sales Management Minute, learn the questions sales people must ask prospects every time.

There are over two million potential questions a sales person can ask a prospect during a sales call. Obviously, no one is going to respond to even the tiniest fraction of the two million plus questions. How do you pick which questions to ask?

The answer to that question is a question… “What are your objectives for the meeting?” Another way of saying this is…

It was a great sales call if what was accomplished?

For example, you might say it was a great sales call if you came away with a clear picture of the prospect’s challenges, a complete understanding of their decision-making and buying process and have identified a solution that addresses their challenges. Given those three objectives for the call, we identify the questions that we need to ask for those to be met.

Identifying the objectives helps us to create the roadmap for achievement. If you approach this from the other way around, show up at a prospect ask a bunch of questions and head back to the office, how will you know if you were successful? You won’t. And, chances are, you will ask questions that were pointless while omitting critical ones because desired outcomes were not identified.

This line of thinking is a concept I call Outcome-Based Selling™ which is a four-step process.

Step 1: Outcome: What is the desired outcome?

Step 2: Strategy: What has to happen to achieve the desired outcome?

Step 3: Execution: What will you say, ask and do to achieve the desired outcome?

Step 4: Measurement: How will you evaluate success?

Before you pick up the phone, craft an email or meet with a prospect, identify your desired outcomes. That definition gives you the tools you need to achieve the goal. By the way, outcome-based thinking isn’t just for sales calls, it’s applicable for any management decision.

See you next time on the Sales Management Minute.

Lee B. Salz is a leading sales management strategist specializing in helping companies build scalable, high-performance sales organizations through hiring the right salespeople, effectively onboarding them, and aligning their sales activities with business objectives through process, metrics and compensation. He is the Founder and CEO of Sales Architects, Business Expert Webinars and The Revenue Accelerator. Lee has authored several books including award-winning,  best-seller “Hire Right, Higher Profits.” He is a results-driven sales management consultant and a passionate, dynamic speaker . Lee can be reached at lsalz@SalesArchitects.net or 763.416.4321.