Qualifying Questions have been a popular litmus test to determine whether a prospect is worth working with or not. Countless businesses engage in qualifying prospects to help weed out those who aren’t ready and willing to buy your solutions. At the end of the process, qualified prospects who survive are deemed worthy to enter the sales funnel.
There’s just one problem: qualifying prospects is utter nonsense.
The reality is clients don’t need to be qualified, it’s the service providers that need qualification.
The fact is, your customers aren’t the authority on the solutions they need. You are. Therefore, it’s your job to ask the right questions to determine if and what you might have to solve their problem correctly. Your business and solutions may not always be the right fit for your customer’s needs. Using qualifying questions will allow you to properly assess a client’s situation and determine the perfect solution for their problems.
One must never use their solutions as the golden standard prior to working with a prospect. It’s always about identifying your client’s specific needs first, and then presenting the right solutions to their needs.
That’s what qualifying questions should be about. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how qualifying questions work and explore 27 questions to ask prospects.
How Do Qualifying Questions Work?
Sales statistics information reveals that at least 50 percent of your prospective customers are no good fit for your business. That’s why many businesses think that qualifying prospects is a good idea to avoid wasting money.
But what this data doesn’t reveal is how well the seller understood their needs. Time and time again, I have listened to sales presentations and wondered if the salesperson was even in the same room when the prospect expressed their desires and needs.
Qualifying a prospect is lazy. Being qualified to offer a solution by really understanding a prospect is key. We all know that the buying process should always revolve around customers and exceed the return on their perceived investment. This includes their investment in money, energy, time — otherwise known as their underlying felt needs. Once these needs are MET (or exceeded) a sale is made.
In that sense, qualifying questions should not be used to qualify a customer, but rather, for the seller to become qualified to sell them the right solution.
Think of it this way.
A salesperson asking qualifying questions to customers is like a doctor interviewing a patient. During the interview, doctors don’t shove their medical facilities and staff down the patient’s throat. Instead, they carefully listen to the patient and try to understand the sum of their symptoms. Only when they have a complete understanding of the situation will they be able to prescribe the right treatment.
Qualifying questions operate under the same principles.
You want to fully comprehend your customer’s situation to properly diagnose their needs. This then enables you to sell the right solution. Ultimately, when your presentations are tailored specifically to your customer’s needs, you also boost your conversion rate in the process.
27 Qualifying Questions to Ask Your Prospect
Provocative and open-ended qualifying questions help you gather intelligence to determine if your business is a good fit for your prospects. However, not every question is fit for your prospective customer. It’s better to tune the question based on your existing relationship to keep it from looking like an interrogation process.
Furthermore, you want to build a deck of solid qualifying questions that uncover the 3 areas that needs derive from — the customer, the home, and the system in question.
Here are 27 qualifying questions to inspire your thinking. Don’t think of them as literal questions to ask, rather as ideas to convey.
1. What prompted you to contact our business over others? — This helps you determine how your business is perceived in their mind. The more relational in nature, the better.
2. What has made this project so critical or urgent? — Urgent projects are more likely to close today at a higher average sale and profit.
3. Why are you looking for a new service provider right now? — If they don’t have a service provider of choice, why? What did they do that you could avoid, or has the product they need to buy ever been maintained?
4. What good experiences have you had with other residential home service businesses? Bad experiences? — These qualifying questions identify what prospects deem good and bad “experiences” from the services they pay for. More ways to impress them when you present a solution.
5. What changes do you want to see this time around? — This tells how they want to be sold, what they see as valuable, and how you can help them commit when they are asked to buy.
6. What outcomes do you hope to see from our partnership today? — This is a way to smoke out objections early and remove roadblocks early.
7. What are your objectives for hiring us? — This gives you a sense as to whether they are a relational buyer or a transactional shopper.
8. Do you want to do the same thing as before, or something different this time? — This will help you determine if they understand the value of what you sell, and how they perceive the purchase going down.
9. Who is involved in the decision-making process? — This determines whether your prospective client is the sole decision-maker or the decision is influenced by other people or factors.
10. What is the cost of doing nothing? — This allows the prospect to outline the true costs of the buy, deepening the gap of dissatisfaction. By continuing to coax out the opportunity costs of money, energy, and time, you can add further value to your solution.
11. What is the value of meeting agreed-upon goals? — This is to ensure that your prospective client understands the importance of meeting their goals to justify your fees. You want to see where their heart is when it comes to paying a reasonable premium for empathetic competent convenience.
12. What issues do you foresee that could limit our collaboration? — This also smokes out potential objections early. The more time you spend removing roadblocks, the easier it will be to close when a viable solution is presented. Don’t get hung up on their answers too much, as they are also posturing to get the best deal.
13. What’s your top priority? — Clients will reflect on the 6 key features of any product to fulfill their underlying felt needs. When you understand how to sell them, you can show them why you’re the best option.
14. What is your biggest concern? — Like a good trial lawyer, you’re asking a question you already know the answer to. This sets you up to price condition the prospect early on.
15. How can your top priority be fulfilled? How about the biggest concern? — These qualifying questions help you determine what you can do to keep prospects confident in your business and your solutions.
16. What is your most difficult challenge when working with companies like us? — You want to know the struggles that prospects perceive when dealing with your industry. The information provided here can help you avoid the same mistakes.
17. What is preventing you from meeting or overcoming that challenge? — Here, you’ll learn the limitations or circumstances that keep prospects running into the same challenges with residential home services.
18. How much are you willing to trade off to tackle this challenge? — You want to know your client’s budget and how intent they are in overcoming their challenges. The more intentional, the more likely they are to spend higher for empathetic competent convenience.
19. How well are our competitors performing? — You want to gauge how your business performs compared to other competitors within your category. This also sets a prospect’s expectations of what service you have to offer. The goal here is to provide value that far outweighs others.
20. What are our competitors doing that you wish we were? — Compared to the previous question, this is more specific. You want to know the actual services, perks, and advantages that competitors offer that your prospects find enticing.
21. Is there anything you would like to know before you buy? — This question is intended to display empathy and ensure people get the best experience.
22. What sort of ROI do you wish to get from our services? — Do they want the cheapest upfront prices? Or are they happy to pay a reasonable premium for a longer lasting solution and increased convenience?
23. How do you select the best business? — Qualifying questions that help your prospects evaluate their process for finding a business to work with help you be that business. Do they want cheap and cheerful or do they yearn for quality above all?
24. What pain points remain despite having viable solutions? — Clients may have sought other businesses’ help for a service yet still have yet to purchase. When you can figure out what’s holding them back, you can build more value.
25. How do you define success? — This answers their criteria to say services are successful or collaboration is fruitful.
26. What obstacles or constraints do you see that prevent us from working together? — You want to know what deal breakers both parties might have to prevent a successful collaboration. This will help you avoid displaying those red flags and also assist you in assessing your prospect’s commitment.
27. Are there any things that keep you awake at night? — You want to know what gives customers peace when working with residential home service providers like you.
It’s up to your business to address the more technical industry-specific qualifying questions to help you provide more accurate solutions. Asking the right questions will help you align your business to your customer’s values which helps seal the deal better.
Always remember that the buying process is always about the customers. Using qualifying questions is the secret to helping your business put its best foot forward when dealing with prospects. Wizard of Sales® can help you craft the perfect qualifying questions to fully understand your client’s needs. Book a call.