You’re not asking your prospects the right questions

by Will Rotondi

You’d think asking questions would be the most straightforward part of any prospecting conversation.

You provide a service. You know prospects who need that service. You ask your prospects about that service. Easy, amirite?

Not necessarily. Maybe it’s those English classes that pushed us to turn three paragraphs into full theses, or the fact that we try to restate or gloss up what’s already been said in so many ways. For whatever reason, there are times when we simply ask the wrong questions.

It doesn’t just happen when you’re courting new clients. Office meetings are perfect venues for awkward questions. The only difference between the two is that it’s more likely that you’ll ask something that’s ambiguous, or even ask the wrong person, when you’re prospecting.

Salespeople can get really concerned about having this happen when they email prospect because they’re afraid that if they don’t phrase their messages just right, they’ll a) come across as incompetent, b) get misconstrued as spam, or c) get no response at all.

So how do you ask the right questions? Glad you asked!

Step 1: Write down what you’d say if you were reaching out to a cold prospect.
Step 2: Take that idea and delete anything about yourself (i.e. who you are, what you do, and any form of a sales pitch). Don’t be surprised if you lose ¾ of your original email.
Step 3: Direct your message more to your intended audience.
Step 4: Make sure it includes a question that confirms you’re talking to the right person
Step 5: Send it. Cross your fingers.

For example,

Step 1:

Hi, I’m Bob. I work with ABC Company and wanted to ask you about your services. Have you experienced problems with x, y, or z? If so, we have several items that I think would be a great way to optimize your initiatives this year. I hope we can discuss this further. I’m available Tuesday or Thursday of this week. Please let me know if you would like to schedule some time for a conversation.

Step 2:

Hi, wanted to ask you about your services. Have you experienced problems with x, y, or z?

Step 3:

Hi Joe,

I wanted to ask you about your services, and whether you’ve experienced problems with x, y, or z.

Step 4:

Hi Joe,

I wanted to ask you about your services, and whether you’ve experienced problems with x, y, or z. Are you the best person for this conversation?

 

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