Lack of probing questions can be one reason why sales proposals are often rejected by clients.
Many presenters forget that throwing open-ended questions such as “How are you doing?” or “What are you up to?” successfully convinces your clients to share the information you need to meet their needs.
First, build rapport and connect with them to get their attention and establish trust.
Briefly introduce yourself to highlight your pitch’s importance. This compels clients to answer your questions without question.
Why Probing is Important
In sales pitches, your main goal is to persuade your clients to take action.
Study your clients’ objectives and how they should be met. Know their needs and wants to craft an attention-grabbing pitch. Doing so makes them realize that you’ve made thorough research about their company, showing them that you’re just as interested in them as you want them to be interested in your proposal.
More than presenting your products and services’ features, advantages and benefits, make your clients feel that you care about them by meeting their expectations. Satisfying their needs makes them see that you value them above anyone else. This gives them reasons to listen and share their side of the story once you ask them probing questions.
When to Probe
A good sales pitch and ample presentation skills can make an effective sales proposal, but probing is an equally important technique. Your clients look for products and services that satisfy their company’s needs.
Probing is important when relating their needs with what you’re offering. Knowing their concerns prepares you to connect them with your products and services’ benefits, making them think that your idea can achieve their desired outcome.
Start by asking open-ended questions such as, “What are your plans for reaching your objectives for this area?” and “What strategies are you going to implement to make this happen?” to delve into more details.
When you notice that your clients have objections, ask whether they understand what you’re trying to emphasize. This can help clarify some concerns before they make their decision.
How Probing Becomes Effective
Probing encourages your clients to talk more, convincing them to share their thoughts and give you more information that can help you motivate them.
The “who, what, when, where, why and how” questions tell you more about your client’s concerns, letting you better understand their needs by asking:
- “Who will…”
- “What, specifically…”
- “When will…”
- “Where, exactly…”
- “Why does…”
- “How does…”
Know whether you’re asking appropriate questions or not. Be careful not to overdo it by asking more questions than necessary. Going overboard results in data that might not be relevant at all to your proposal, wasting both your time and theirs.
Prepare possible questions to quickly address any issues they might have, preventing them from delaying their decisions.
Applying this sales pitch technique makes clients more likely to approve your proposal. Once they realize how much you’re interested, how much you care about meeting their concerns, and how much you’re helping them achieve their expectations, you’ll convince them that your offering best suits their organization needs.
Knowing what and how to ask makes your sales pitch effective. This is because clients will see that you understand how probing helps satisfy their needs, showing that you’re serious and dedicated about what you do.
Clients are more confident to hire somebody who goes out of their way to give them a satisfying experience. Be the person that your client would never hesitate to go to for solutions to their needs.
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“21 Powerful, Open-Ended Sales Questions.” RAIN Group. Accessed June 25, 2015.
“Probing.” Changing Minds. Accessed June 25, 2015.