10 Basic Principles for Turning Your Prospects into Clients: Anticipate Questions (and Have Your Answers Ready)

November 16th, 2009 by | Print

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This is a little disclaimer that I will be adding to the beginning of every post in this 10 part series so new readers will understand the premise for each piece. If you have been following through the entire series, you can skip the following paragraph to get to the latest lesson.

 

If you are just joining us, I am writing a series of 10 basic principles that will help you increase your conversion rate of turning prospects into paying customers. If you missed that post, then I recommend that you click on the title, “10 Basic Principles for Turning Your Prospects into Clients” and give it a read before going on.

 

This is the fourth installment – Anticipate Questions (and Have Your Answers Ready). If you recall the first post, “10 Basic Principles for Turning Your Prospects into Clients: Follow-up Right Away”, I made mention that I set a four hour response time to respond to a prospect’s first inquiry partially because I want to do some homework before my first call. This ties into today’s post about anticipating questions and having answers ready.

 

There are three types of people that new prospects are likely to hear back from.

 

The Order Taker

The order taker typically is only adept at taking a SKU, offering a service plan, quoting a price, taking a name, contact information and quantity ordered. They often stammering, stuttering, hemming and hawing with long “aaaahhhhh”s when a prospect has a question that goes into benefits, experience and knowledge about their respective market.

 

The Inquisitive

The Inquisitive individual knows asking questions is an excellent way to qualify a new contact. They get good information from the prospect about the problems they are facing and the solutions they are seeking. However, asking questions is only half the equation. Proposing the best solution comes from experience or at minimum taking the time to do some investigation.

 

The Solution Provider

The Solution Provider has the best odds for turning the prospect into a client. They have the skill of the Inquisitive type, but they can propose ideas to instill confidence that they have potential solutions to meet the prospect’s needs. Having experience within a given market gives the Solution Provider an edge, but doing a little homework prior to the first call will improve your odds over the competition even further.

 

So which type are you?

 

There is the possibility that when a prospect leaves a request for contact, they fail to mention their company name or the problem that they need help solving. This leaves you very little to prep for beyond knowing your business. Take a moment or two to think about answers for the following (beyond the obvious of how long you have been in business, your products / services and their prices):

 

  1. What makes you unique from the competition?
  2. What are unique solutions that you created in the past?
  3. What benefits do you provide for other customers?
  4. Do you have any upcoming promotions, new products or services?
  5. Would you be willing to offer discounts?
  6. When can you deliver the product / service?

 

Hopefully, the prospect left you their company name (if they are a B2B business). If they are a consumer, go back to the previous set of questions and get the prospect on the phone. Otherwise, search for their web site and some market related sites to identify the following first:

 

  1. What market do they service?
  2. What products and services do they offer? At what prices?
  3. What is their mission statement and USP?
  4. What similar customers do you have (or had) that compete in their market? What benefits did those customers get from working with you?
  5. Why do you think they are requesting your services?
  6. Do you find any opportunities on their site for suggestions and recommendations for improvement that fall within your area of expertise?
  7. Does their market seem to be growing, shrinking or staying the same size? Why?
  8. What are some common benefits and problems within their market?

 

Notice that most of these questions are about the prospect. Why?

 

The odds are in your favor for turning a prospect into a client if you can demonstrate that you understand their market, speak their language (by niche and not nationality – unless providing service in a non-English language is a requirement), provide examples of solutions and benefits for similar businesses (if not similar businesses, at least similar scenarios) and ask appropriate questions to get to the root of their current problem.

 

The bottom line is that you should do a little homework prior to making your first call to a prospect. Your prospects will appreciate it.

 

Next up in the series is, “Ask the ‘Expected Results’ Question”.

 

All The Best,

Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

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