How to ask 80% less questions during a sales conversation and get to know the real needs of the customer?
Enjoy the case study from the online workshop that we conducted recently with the sales department of our client 🙂
Problem: A bottleneck in the sales process that reduces the number of potential customers. The sales department received a lot of potential customers who, after receiving the sales offer, resigned without further negotiations.
- Creating a sales interview scenario aimed at exploring the real needs of the customer,
- The use of open questions in a sales interview,
- a particular recommendation of actions for the customer at the end of the sales conversation (initial offer),
- Creating a new offer sent after a sales interview to include what is necessary for the customer.
The workshop was conducted with the sales department, where a bottleneck problem emerged, which strongly limited the process of selling services.
1. Trial telephone conversations
At the very beginning of the workshop, we conducted short, 15-minute, individual phone calls with the participants, in which we became a potential customer. During the conversation, we wrote down the questions that the employees asked us and picked up the issues that we lacked.
2. Feedback after interviews
After we finished talking, we did an open feedback session where we discussed the pros, cons, and shortcomings in the conversations. In the interviews there were many closed questions, which significantly limited the possibility of getting to know the customer’s needs. In the next step we asked the participants to write down on separate adhesive sheets and glue on a flipchart divided into 3 parts (Business, Scope and Recommendation) the questions they ask during everyday conversations with potential customers.
3. Analysis of interviews and development of an optimised list of questions
We have analysed them together and identified the most important issues to be addressed in such conversations. On their basis, we have created a much smaller, but more precise and customized list of questions. As a result, we achieved an 80% reduction in the number of questions asked (the whole scenario was closed in 7 questions). Example: “What do you sell?”, “What do you want to achieve?”, “What have you done so far?”, “What problems have you encountered so far?”.
4. Closing sales interview
We have also worked on the closing sales interview with a specific recommendation for the customer (tailored to his needs). We have analyzed the services that employees can offer to potential customers during sales, so that they are tailored to their individual needs and at the same time constitute an element of the company’s offer.
5. Trial telephone conversations with the use of new questions
We have conducted further trial telephone conversations (based on real case studies), during which the workshop participants asked us newly developed questions. Conversations with the use of these questions showed a major change in the approach to researching the actual needs of the customer.
After new conversations we felt cared for and felt that our problem with which we came is understood and specified. We also received concrete proposals for action that made sense in solving our problems.
6. Optimisation of the sales offer
The next step was to improve the sales offer, which customers read after receiving it, but a very small part of them continued to contact us regarding potential cooperation.
We asked the participants to write on their colourful self-adhesive cards the pros and cons they see in the whole sales process they are using now. Together we analyzed them and wondered what can be changed in this process to eliminate the disadvantages and make good use of the advantages of the current company’s offer. On the basis of the analysis, it was possible to create a model of the sales offer, which combines all the most important issues.
From 40 pages of the presentation we went down to 5, which contained the most important elements of the offer, without unnecessary pages. The offer includes such elements as:
1. The title page (for whom the offer is, who prepared it, contact, purpose of implementation)
2. Scope of implementation, price, deadline
3. Supplementary services
4. Methodology of work (speed of implementation, mode of operation)
5. Portfolio (links to works/mockups, client list)
The activities carried out at the workshop allowed to streamline and improve the quality of sales talks so that customers could feel that their needs would be satisfied and problems solved. There is also a new template of the offer, which will be sent after the phone calls and which customers will be able to get acquainted with within 5 minutes.
All this was realized during a 5-day sprint, which included a workshop, as well as the development of a canvas with a new interview scenario and a new (in terms of content and design) sales offer template.
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