Effective sales follow up questions to use on the next call

6 min read

All sales reps know that the key to a successful sale is preparation. The best practice to tackle a sales call is to do your pre-call prep work to properly understand your prospect and have a relevant conversation with them. After this, many reps also take to creating a set of questions that can help them lead the conversation.

While having these pre-prepared questions at hand is a great way to stay on topic and ensure you're asking everything that is necessary and relevant, there can also be a downside to using them.

The main problem these questions create is distraction - sometimes reps get so concerned with getting through their list, they stop noticing openings and opportunities in the conversation that can help them understand their prospect better.

By failing to truly listen to your leads and understanding what they are saying, you can easily miss the necessary information you need that may in fact be more truthful and relevant than the prospect simply answering a questionnaire. By tuning in completely, you can look for unspoken cues that will allow you to expertly pivot the conversation to understand the situation better.

When you feel there is something more to discover in a particular line of discussion, put your questions aside and use one of the below sales follow-up questions to help you lead the conversation.

Reflect on the issue at hand

When leads or buyers are airing out concerns, make sure to always get to the root cause of their troubles. Asking a question like "Why is that so?" can give your prospect an opportunity to elaborate further and reflect on what the actual issue is or why it is occurring. Getting to the bottom of the problem is imperative in understanding the implications of the situation as well as the scenario at the company itself.

Rephrase your buyer's words

A very powerful trick in the book is to rephrase what your lead is saying in order to get the conversation moving further along. Paraphrasing is a great way to ask a follow up question when they are explaining a point to you. Say something like "So, what you mean is... ?" continued with what they just mentioned as that will also help in eliminating any misunderstandings. It will prompt the buyer to speak further and let them know you are paying complete attention to what they are talking about.

Understand the impact of the problems

Without understanding the impact of the problems on the company, there is no way a rep can help. Asking a question to do so will allow your buyer to not just explain the problem they are facing but also how the problem is specifically affecting them. You can do this by simply asking "And how does that affect your company?" as such imperative knowledge will then help you understating the company's pain points in detail.

Draw connections

When trying to understand the story of a new company, the main aim is to tie up loose ends and fit all the pieces together to get a whole picture. This can be easily done by drawing connections between things the buyer may have mentioned before as this will help you join the dots.

You can do so by asking something along the lines of "Is this related to what you mentioned earlier about XYZ?" Doing so will also show your prospect that you always pay close attention to what they are saying.

Ask again if necessary

There is no shame in re-asking a question if you didn't understand what your prospect or buyer said. Many times, they may also not answer the questions completely, which is when you can easily rephrase and re-ask without it seeming like you aren't paying attention. Just state the question in a slightly different manner without going off topic.

The worst thing to do in such a situation would be to pretend you've understood and move on without re-asking. Always remember that if you don't properly understand what the prospect needs, you wouldn't be able to help them adequately. Instead of wasting everyone's time, make sure you are truly on the same page with the lead.

Keep the flow going

Sometimes a prospect may need a little more prompting to open up about a certain topic or situation about their business. At such a time, the simplest response can help them elucidate further and create enough of an impact for them to speak freely. If you think the lead is holding something back, saying a straightforward "Oh?" or "And?" can also do the trick without breaking their chain of thought, which asking another question may do.

Use your next sales call as a way to listen to your buyer or prospect and understand the deeper meaning of what they are trying to explain. The above sales follow up questions will allow you to adopt the mindset of a journalist as well as help you find openings in the conversation to pursue further.

Let go of the script and allow the conversation to take a natural turn when needed. This will definitely help you better understand and handle the needs of your buyers and provide their business the required help.

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