The sales process, from the initial call to the final sale, will always include sales prospect questions. For the most part, there is tremendous overlap with the questions being asked. Every once in awhile, you get asked some tough prospect questions. These tough questions can often throw you off and cause you to lose focus on your ultimate goal. Sometimes after facing challenging prospect questions, it can be hard to get back on track. You need to be prepared for those tough prospect questions.
- Have the person clarify the question. Asking for clarification will give you several opportunities. First, it will buy you a little time. You never want to answer tough prospect questions without giving the questions some serious thought first. Second, the question may be a general question or very may be about a very specific issue. You need to be sure that you are addressing exactly what the sales prospects concerns are. A tried and true method of getting clarification is to say: “Help me to understand what you mean by…” . This statement shows that you really want to comprehend and respond to what they really want to know.
- Let your answer demonstrate your expertise. As part of your sales preparation, you should know your product or service inside and out. You should also have a good awareness of what your competition is offering. When you are clear about the issue that the prospect questions, use your base of knowledge to provide an answer. Start your answer with a statement like: “My experience with this has shown…”. You can then demonstrate that you are an authority in the area of your product or service.
- Keep the focus on the needs of the client. You know you have a good product or service. It’s up to you to show the client that you have exactly what they need. If the client is focusing on one aspect of your presentation that is not really a crucial area for what they need, refocus them. You can show them you understand their concern by saying: “I understand your concern, and let’s look at it like this…”.
- Rephrase and refocus questions that are not relevant. Sometimes prospect questions can be wildly off the main point. With irrelevant questions, it can be very easy to get off task and you can find yourself hurtling in a direction that will make it difficult to come back from. The prospect questions might be asked to intentionally throw you off or the questions can be an indication that the prospects have completely missed the point of what you have been trying to say. In either case, you can turn things around with: “That is an interesting question, do you mean…? Let me speak to that.” and put the main point of your presentation as the subject of your question.
- Tell stories. Very often, the prospect questions will be tough, but there will always be something within the question that you can relate to. Every sales person has collected stories and analogies regarding when they have helped other clients overcome obstacles or issues with appropriate solutions. Start by saying something like: “Let me tell you about a similar situation that I worked on.” This does two things; it helps to make the issue become more personalized rather than general. It also allows you to display your knowledge and experience.
Answering tough prospect questions can be difficult. You need to always make sure you are prepared with good product knowledge, and, more importantly, a good understanding of your clients. With good preparation and a good idea of what to say, even the most challenging prospect questions will not get you off target.