Top 15 Questions That Prospects Ask Themselves

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Sep 27, 2011 @ 09:09 AM

thoughtsFollowing up yesterday's Moneyball article, here are some more new things for you to think about.  

When your salespeople are in front of or on the phone with prospects, do they ever think in terms of whether their prospects:

  • Want what you're selling?
  • Need what you're selling?
  • Must solve a problem that you can solve?
  • Don't care?

Let's discuss the implications of each:

If your prospects want what you sell, they are asking themselves:

  • Is it practical?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Can I afford it?
  • Is the timing right?
  • Is this who I want to buy it from?
  • Is this the one I want?
If your prospects need what you sell, they are asking themselves:
  • Do I want it?
  • Do I need it now?
  • What's it going to cost?
  • Who should I get it from?
If your prospects have a problem that needs to be solved, they are asking themselves:
  • Who can best solve my problem?
  • Who can do it now?
  • Who can do it right - the first time?
  • Who can get it completed quickly?
If your prospects don't care and aren't interested, your salespeople shouldn't be speaking with them.
So there are three possible mindsets that prospects could have when your salespeople are speaking with them that demand three completely different approaches.  Clearly, the scenario where your salespeople can create the most urgency and move the sales process along more quickly is #3.  Do your salespeople execute consultative selling effectively enough to consistently achieve #3?  If they don't, they won't be able to move their prospects into #3 from either #1 or #2, at which point they may be viewed as a commodity or transaction rather than a value added solution.
On top of that, your products and/or services fall into two additional categories, each requiring different approaches:
  1. Why me?  or Why?  If prospects know they will buy (think expiring copier lease) then it's simply a case of your salespeople getting them to choose your company.  Why me?  If prospects weren't aware that they were going to buy (think no money in the budget for the product or service) then it's a case of your salespeople selling them on the concept of buying.  Why?
  2. Through?  or To?  If your salespeople sell through a channel (distributors, VAR's, brokers, dealers, retailers, resellers, etc.) then they are selling through and may have little influence on whether the end-user buys.  In this case they are coaches to their channel.  If your salespeople sell directly to end users then they are in control of their own destiny.
Two questions for you:  Are your salespeople conciously aware of the 3 mindsets and two categories, and have you checked as to whether they have appropriate approaches for each?


One of my articles, Top Ten Reasons for Roller Coaster Sales, was nominated for article of the month.  I only learned about it late last week so there are only 3 days left to vote.  I would appreciate it if you would take 15 seconds to vote here.


Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales training, Sales Coaching, sales tips, advanced selling skills, top sales articles

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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