How to Save Time by Asking Better Questions

Have you ever spent hours talking with a potential customer only to realize that you aren’t the right fit for each other?

Crushing. Waste. Of. Time.
For BOTH of you.

I’ve talked with numerous people who feel swamped answering questions / emails / inquiries from people who don’t end up buying their product or service.  Or they get farther down the sales process and a need of the customer comes up and you realize you don’t offer what they want.

Though there will always be a percent that don’t convert to a sale, there are quick and easy ways to increase the number of qualified leads that you are spending time on. (key word: qualified :)

The easiest way to do this is to ask better questions up front.

Depending on your sales process you can do this in person, or better yet, through a form online.

If you’re a small business, your time is the number one thing that you never seem to have enough of (in addition to cash of course).  If you are spending a lot of you time with people that will never be your customer (but wishing that they would) you are throwing money and time out the window.  

You need to ask better questions up front so that you don’t waste your time or your customer’s time.

6 topics to ask questions on:

  1. What - What exactly are they looking for either physical product or results if you are a service (and does it match what you offer)

  2. Quantity requirements - can you fulfill orders for a client on the scale they need?

  3. Time - What is the turnaround time?

  4. Who is the decision maker - do you need to pull more people into the conversation?

  5. Money - What is the budget and does it match with what you make?

  6. Deal Breakers - Are there any things that would be automatic deal breakers? Often times there are.  Make sure to ask this up front right away. 

If you have qualify a potential customer before you spend time selling to them and answering questions you will greatly increase the amount people that actually turn into customers (because the wrong fits don’t get in touch) and you will also save you so much time?

I worked with one client that manufactures apparel.  She was spending hours responding to email inquiries.  Unfortunately many of them were for products they didn’t make.  

The founder responded to each request, many that would never turn into sales.  

She updated her inquiry form and made it very clear as to what they specialize in manufacturing and added other fields.  Now when the inquiry made it to her inbox - she had most of the information she needed to give a quote on a project. This one form made over 90% of inquiries as qualified leads and cut out about 5 steps in the sales process.  She has then cut down the time from inquiry to order.

Another client has a company that sells a software.  He found he was often doing demos with interested parties and at the end of the conversation they weren't the decision maker.  So now, he also has created a form to ask who the decision maker is (among other things).

Asking better questions will also help you in many other areas.  Ask better questions when you're interviewing.  Ask better questions when you are the client and hiring out help.  

So save yourself and your clients time by asking better questions up front - either in person or online.  The better your questions, the more your time is going into things that will actually generate revenue!