Some teleprospecters skip like a stone across the surface of a conversation, without ever really finding out what is going on in a prospect’s business. A lot of information is gathered on the call, but it never really gets to the heart of the matter or solves anything. While those survey-type questions are useful to gain a basic knowledge of the prospect’s business environment, more steps are necessary to really dive in to understanding the prospect’s business and current situation.
D- Details. Most teleprospects are good at getting these, i.e, “how many servers do you have?”, “What vendor do you use?”, “Are they racks, towers, or blades?”, “How old are they?” These questions help you understand what type of IT environment you are dealing with and can drastically change the direction of the conversation. You don’t want to talk to someone about blade servers if they are currently running 1 unvirtualized tower. These questions are crucial, but ideally you want to keep them to a minimum, say 3 or 4. You don’t want to sound like a survey. The best strategy is to ask an open-ended first question, such as, “In order to make sure I am providing the most relevant information to your business, can you tell me a little about your server environment,” which will likely result in a longer answer that includes at least two or three bits of information.
I- Issues. In order to match a benefit to a need, you have to uncover a need. Asking GAP questions (Get At the Problem) will help uncover issues in the prospect’s current environment that we might be able to assist them with. From my research, a typical response to a GAP question is about 30-45 seconds (as opposed to a survey-type question, which may get a one-word answer). Here are some examples:
- What is the main problem you have to deal with in your server environment?
- How has virtualization impacted your storage?
- What does your backup window look like?
- Tell me about any unplanned downtime you’ve experienced in the last 12 months.
The best GAP questions are those that lead you directly to a specific value proposition.
V- Value. The best time to value prop is directly after uncovering a business issue, as you will be able to provide a solution to their problem. If they experience unplanned downtime, you can talk about how our solutions can help identify issues before they occur and reduce the amount of downtime. If backups take 8 hours, you can talk about how our solutions can help reduce their backup window.
E- Evaluation Timeline. After providing a solution to their problem, the final step is to find out when they will address these issues, and when they will evaluate potential solutions. “When” is your best friend. “When” is the question that can move a conversation into a “lead.”