The strategic issues that drive a deal forward

Questiology [2/2]: The strategic questions that drive a deal forward

[Continued from previous week's article]

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Asking the right question, at the right time, a largely underestimated subject.

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Remember: The will to buy must come from your prospect.

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Your role is to guide your interlocutor on the path to your solution. Each question you ask should move them one step further:

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Now let's see what are the best questions to ask to move your deals forward?

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2. Discovery phase πŸ”Ž

I. Basic discovery questions πŸŒ’

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[3/16 ] "What is your scope of activity? "

Objective: To understand the person you are talking to and to adapt your speech for the next step.

Two people with the same job title can have very different tasks and responsibilities. Through this question you will understand their role, responsibilities, objectives, etc.

Replace the 15 questions that make you look like an inspector with one comprehensive one.

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[4/16 ] "How is your company structured? "

Here we take a step up. Advance your account mapping.

Objective: To understand the potential of this prospect. Are there other departments to go to?

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II. Qualifying discovery questions πŸŒ“

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[5/16] "How do you deal with [the detected problem]? "
[6/16] "Have you considered a solution to this problem or are you not planning to solve it right away? "

Objective: To understand whether the problem being addressed is a real problem, and whether you have a serious prospect in front of you.

  • If it is a REAL problem, there will have been solutions considered already, and the answer to the timing will be "sooner rather than later".
  • Otherwise, there is a good chance that you will be wasting your time ...

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III. Questions that put the finger where it hurts πŸŒ”

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[7/16] "If you continue like this, what will happen? "

Objective: That your interlocutor makes his or her own diagnosis to become aware of the consequences of his or her inaction.

There are many formulations for this one, but the idea is simple: put your finger where it hurts.

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IV. Projecting yourself with your solution πŸŒ•

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[8/16] "What doyou like about our service/product? "

Objective: Let your prospect list your advantages himself.

He will automatically speak first about the points that are important to him. These will be the ones that you will put forward for the next step ;)

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[9/16] "We are 9 months away, we are working together: what has changed for you? "

Objective : Get your interlocutor to project himself with your solution. Change is possible thanks to you. They must be able to visualise it clearly.

This one comes from the 100 Questions to Sell list, for those who want to go deeper into the subject.

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[10/16] "How are these decisions usually made? "

Objective : Understand who else you will need to convince before signing.

Your deal can drag on for months simply because you are missing the final decision maker! It is with him that you must make an appointment as soonas possible.

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3. Negotiation / Handling of objections 🌊

We've already talked about it, objections are dealt with by asking questions, not by giving answers.

We know that each of you works on specific subjects, and the aim is not to give generalities. Instead, we want to present you with the main levers used at Modjo, and which have proved their worth.

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I. The price

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[11/16] "If I recap, each month this problem costs you X €. Our solution costs €Y. Does the price seem reasonable to you knowing that you are saving [X - Y] €? In the long run, how much will you save? "

Objective: Reposition your offer. Ultra-powerful because of its double impact:

  1. Any price is justifiable, as long as the value provided is greater than the price paid. This is still an excellent answer to the classic "It's too expensive".
  2. It also increases the sense of urgency: every day you are without us, you lose X €!

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[12/16] "How much would it cost you to develop this solution in-house? Is this possible?

Objective: To remind people of the value you bring.

If your solution is powerful enough, the answer will obviously be "impossible".

But it is important that your prospect remembers the reality, and the value of your solution. If they want to move forward, they have no choice but to move forward with you.

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II. Competition

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[13/16] "You told me that you work with [competitor], what could be done better?"

Objective: Invite your prospect to elaborate on the weak points of the competition:

  1. The prospect admitted to himself that his current solution is not perfect.
  2. You will know which benefits to emphasise every time you come across this competitor.

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Reminder: You don't belittle your competitors. They do their job like you do, and that's fair enough.

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III. Topic timing / urgency

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[14/16] "Ideally, when would you like to start with us?"

Objective: To get the prospect to position himself, to know his timing, as well as the last steps before the start.

This one we really like at Modjo!

  • If the answer is "right now" or "tomorrow", you've hit the nail on the head!
  • Otherwise, you will be given a list of next steps. In this answer, you have your next-steps.

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Closing 🎩

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Remember that the closing phase is directly linked to your qualification.

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  1. If you have raised the right issue in the qualification phase ...
  2. ... That you were able to put your finger where it hurts with the appropriate questions...
  3. ... Then you will be able to be directive to advise your prospects to solve this problem quickly.

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[15/16] "How long does this kind of decision usually take?"

Objective: Know the timing of your deal. Know who to raise, and when.

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[16/16] "If I send you a contract when we hang up, can you return it to me within 6 days?"

Objective: To give your offer a validity date. Always. Otherwise, it's like a project without a deadline: it never gets done!

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[Bonus] "We have everything to gain by signing this deal. On your side you can [...], on ours we can finally [...]. So what are we waiting for?"

Objective: If your prospect is still hesitating, emphasise the win-win side.Β 

So don't hesitate to point out what you gain from it! This is rarely done, although it is a simple way to create a feeling of cooperation, and therefore trust, with your prospect.

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Conclusion

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Going from qualification to closing is like building a house.

Once you have found your land (prospecting) and obtained your building permit (qualification), start laying the solid foundations (put your finger where it hurts).

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Each question is a brick, and you are limited in your stock.

Don't spend them unnecessarily:

  • No wall in the middle of the living room => No unnecessary questions.
  • Structural work before finishing => 1. Basic discovery questions; 2. Qualifying questions, then 3. Put your finger where it hurts.

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And don't forget, you, the architect who proposes a resolution plan.

The bricklayer is your prospect!

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πŸ’Ž Find here the List of 16 strategic issues that drive a deal forward πŸ’Ž

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Best,

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Cyprien - Sales Content Specialist at Modjo

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🎲 Survey: Your prospect/customer does not respond. How many times do you follow up (calls, emails, sms) before giving up?

=> I give my opinion

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Cyprien Borios
March 8, 2022
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