You only get one first appointment with a prospect—never waste one again.
If you don’t have a list of questions to ask on every first appointment, you need one. Don’t waste that irreplaceable time by inquiring into the same generalities and presenting the same company overview that your buyer hears from every salesperson who walks through their door. Don’t go prepared to talk; go prepared to listen.
And more than that, show them that you intend to add value—not only to their organization, but to them personally—with these five questions that your competition probably isn’t asking.
1. How has this issue impacted your business? Listen carefully to your prospect’s response for what is important both to your prospect and to their organization—they should overlap, but they might not be identical. If you can solve problems for the company and the buyer, you’re in.
2. What’s the best way for me to stay in communication with you? This question is not about personality or communication style; you want cold, hard facts. Find out what technology—email, cell phone, text—and cadence your prospect wants you to employ, and then stick to it.
3. Aside from our products and services, can you describe the customer experience that you’d like to have with us? Your prospect wants more than just a good product at a good price. They want value. They might also want to tell you about past negative experiences with companies like yours—and how you can avoid repeating them.
4. How do you define success for a project like this? This powerful question works no matter how prepared your prospect is for it. If they know what specific outcomes they are looking for, you’ve brought clarity to the deal. If they don’t, then you know you have an opportunity to add customer value through consultative sales.
Make this question even more powerful by personalizing it with this follow-up: What specific outcomes would equate to success for YOU on this project?
5. How does this initiative fit into your overall strategy? Asking this question last can help you add context to the other answers as well as provide critical information for use when you present possible solutions later.
Never waste another minute of a buyer’s time—or yours—on a first appointment. Bring clarity to your relationship, build the foundation for an unparalleled customer experience, and begin to create a value proposition unique to your prospect by asking these five questions.