The Most Effective Ways to Start a Sales Call

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Introduction

Your clients hire you because you're the technology services expert. Your technical talent allows them to focus on their business and not worry about IT headaches. You stay on top of IT trends and new tools so they don't have to.

Presstacular's The Most Effective Ways to Start a Sales Call guides you into starting conversations that make your clients aware of how your technical services can help their business. By answering the questions, your clients will identify areas where your technical expertise can streamline their processes and communications, and generally make things easier.

To use the checklist, first identify your situation in the left hand column. Each situation maps to one or more questions in the right hand column. These non-sales questions are simply designed to start conversations, but will usually lead to more sales for your business. Be sure that you don't try to solve a client's issues immediately as you uncover opportunities. Keep asking more questions so you get the full picture.

You can use these open-ended questions during your initial prospect meeting, too. The more you learn about your prospects and clients, the more opportunities you will find.

Also, you don't have to wait to ask these questions once a year. Your team can pick a handful to use anytime you are speaking with a client, whether it is by phone or in person. Sometimes, the best dialogs start when a client is not in a formal setting, like a conference room. Asking certain questions as you meet in their lobby or walk with them down the hallway can be a ideal way to open up a dialog.

Situation Questions to Ask

Exploratory

You are trying to get an overview of the client's business.

What kinds of things go wrong in your daily operations?

You want to follow up to their responses about things that go wrong in their operations to see if they are important.

Do these operational problems matter?

You don't want to waste time writing a proposal for something they don't really see as a problem.

A client isn't biting on your suggestions.

Money aside, what processes would you change right now?

They have many people in the meeting with you, which is a sign that they have issues that you can help with because meetings with many people are expensive to hold.

Planning

You want to explore what they consider to be their accomplishments and shortcomings so you understand their priorities.

What were some of your successes in the last 12 months?

You need a sense of what their budget is to achieve their priorities.

How will you capitalize on these successes in the next 12 months?

What were some of your missed opportunities or failures from last the last 12 months?

Are these still important?

How do these tie in with your plans for the next 12 months?

What really happens if you don't meet certain goals in the next 12 months?

What are your expectations for the investment needed to meet these goals?

You want to offer technology planning solutions.

What kind of growth are you expecting in the next 12 months?

How many new employees do you anticipating hiring this year? Next year?

What kind of infrastructure changes do you think will you need to support this growth?

You want to plan your own growth projections from existing clients.

You want to see what outside influences could affect a client's processes and bottom line.

Are you aware of any upcoming legislation that could affect your business?

How do you ensure compliance with government regulations in your line of business?

You want to get the client thinking about ways to reduce compliance costs through your technology.

You want to see if there is an opportunity for upgrading or selling equipment.

How long do you usually keep equipment like computers, printers, phones?

You can see that a client is poised for growth and you want to make them aware of IT options they should consider.

As you grow, how will you effectively manage communications and data between your locations?

How do you handle network security for your teleworkers?

What are some of the recent mobile support options you have explored?

Productivity

You want to suggest ideas that may improve the way a client is doing things now.

How are you managing productivity?

Do you feel certain processes are preventing you from producing more?

How much time does your staff spend doing <name your process>?

What would improve if you reduced this time?

When training new employees, what are the typical issues you encounter?

What is the most common support question you get from your staff? Your clients?

You want to demonstrate the dollar value of the improvements you could make.

You want to uncover repetitive processes or issues that could be streamlined or eliminated through technology.

You want to find out what the client's goal is with their web site. Many companies want to change their web site but usually interpret "change" to mean a different look rather than something more functional or tied to a business goal.

If a customer's first interaction with you was your web site, what would you hope they do?

What do you think they really do?

You want to lead them down the path to understanding the value of your backup and disaster recovery services.

If a storm knocked out power at your office for many days, how would your staff work?

How would you reach your clients? How would they reach you?

If a hurricane or earthquake damaged your office or equipment, how would you recover your data?

You want to make the client aware of IT security issues.

What could happen to your data, network access and web site if a staff member lost a company laptop at an airport?

What safeguards do you have in place to prevent a security breach?

In the event of a security breach, what process do you have in place to restore your company's data?

How does your data security process differ if it is an internal breach or an external hacker?

You want to probe to see if a client is implementing best practices for computer security.

General

You want to discover what they perceive as threats.

What are your competitors excelling in that you are not?

What might cause one of your clients to switch to a competitor?

You want to search for ways that your technology solutions can help the client make or save money.

What kind of things do you feel would make you more profitable?

Have you looked for areas in which you might have hidden expenses?

Your prospect resists recommendations for upgrading existing technology and you want to plant a seed about the financial value of doing so.

Have you explored a business case to see if you should upgrade to <you name it>?

You are pitching a "Mr. Know-It-All" or someone who feels they have already solved their technology issues.

How is that working out for you?

Are you get the results you want from that solution?