How to ask sales discovery questions

How to ask sales discovery questions

How to ask sales discovery questions and get more sales! 

When you ask low contact centre sales performers where they feel they need the most help, many of them will tell you they need help in Closing or Handling Objections.

However, when you listen to their calls you quickly find that they do little to no Discovery of what the customer really wants and why they want it.

They go straight from the Introduction phase of the call into the presentation phase.

Their problem really isn’t closing or handling objections.

Their problems are all related to not doing a really good Discovery before they make their sales presentation!

And because of that, they miss out on this most critical part of the call…

They don’t speak to the specific benefits of what their product or service delivers, that the customer really wants in their presentation.

That’s why they’re getting lots of objections and having trouble closing sales!

Over the 34 years I’ve been managing marketing departments and call centres, consulting with businesses around the world mentoring and coaching their call centre managers and team leaders and especially having owned a call centre myself, the easiest way I’ve found to fix this problem is to coach low sales performers on how to find out what the customer really wants, and why they want it, so they can’t do a really good sales presentation.

Once they learn how to ask great sales discovery questions, sales team members are able to zero in on exactly what the customer wants, and specifically speak to that to get make more sales.

How to coach contact centre sales agent to improve their sales discovery process 

The first thing that you need to coach is transitioning from the Introduction part of the call into the Discovery part of the call.

This is simply done right after the introduction of the call by saying something like:

“Mr. Smith to help me get you what you really want, may I ask you a few questions please?”

By framing their transition to Discovery this way, they start to develop rapport with the customer by showing interest in helping the customer get what they want.

Once you get permission to ask relevant questions and ask the right questions in the proper sequence, customers will tell you everything you need to know to make a great presentation.

And, with a great presentation, you don’t get many objections, and earn the right to ask for the sale!

When asking Sales Discovery Questions it’s important to have a list of questions that narrow down what customers are looking for to keep the presentation part of the call relevant to what they want.

There is little point mentioning features and benefits in the presentation that aren’t important to the customer – it only confuses things and gives customers a reason to think about it!

It’s equally important is to ask Sales Discovery Questions using a conversational tone.

The last thing you want is the customer feeling as if they’re being interrogated.

The second crucial step

After they’ve given you their answer to one of your Sales Discovery Questions, drill down on their answer to find out why that is important to them by simply asking:

Do you mind telling me why that’s important to you?

This is critical because the reason why it’s important to them is the GOLD you’re looking for to help you zero in on the specific benefits they want that will earn the sale.

Just imagine, if you know exactly what they want, and why they want it, isn’t it a lot easier to do your presentation in such a way that resonates with the customer?

A presentation that feels that you’re all about helping them get what they want, rather than them feeling like they’re being sold?

When you’ve finished the Discovery and Drill Down part of the call, simply transition into your presentation by confirming what they’ve just told you to make sure you’re both on the same page.

Do this by saying something like…

Thank you, Mr. Smith, and just so I’m clear, “What you want is X and Y so that you get Z, right?”

Once they confirm this, move right into the presentation phase by speaking about the features that provide the benefits they’re looking by saying something like:

“From what you’ve shared with me Mr Smith I think you’ll really like this product because it will get you what you’ve told me you want. That’s what you’re looking for, right?”

I promise, if you coach all your team members to effectively ask Sales Discovery Questions and drill down on the answers to these questions, team members will find they get fewer objections and make a lot more sales!

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Marc Carriere
About Marc Carriere 16 Articles
With 34 years of worldwide executive experience managing Call Centre teams that have won 3 Silver and 3 Gold ‘Ardy’ awards, consulting with businesses mentoring and coaching their Call Centre Managers and Team Leaders and having owned a call centre himself Marc is well aware of the difficulties Call Centres face in consistently meeting their targets and KPIs.

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