Sales Management: Crafting Effective Problem Questions


In the realm of sales, the key to capturing your audience’s attention lies not in flaunting your solutions but in delving into the intricacies of their problems. To be a true professional problem solver, one must first uncover the underlying issues customers face. So, how do you go about it? The answer lies in building your arsenal of problem questions. In this Sales Management article we will break this concept down further, starting with…

Identifying your value proposition
Begin by compiling a comprehensive list of the offerings you provide. Under each offering, outline the reasons why customers would benefit from purchasing that particular product or service. Essentially, what outcomes can they expect, and how will they be better off?

For instance:
• Offering: SalesGuru’s prospecting training
• Outcome: Salespeople get in front of more qualified prospects

Turning solutions into questions
The real challenge is transforming your typical sales pitch into a series of thought-provoking questions. Let’s break this down using the example above:
• Tell: SalesGuru offers prospecting training that gets salespeople in front of more qualified prospects.
• Ask: Do you believe that your salespeople are getting in front of enough qualified prospects every day?
Craft questions that directly address the pain points your offerings resolve. These questions should prompt potential customers to reflect on their current challenges and recognise the value your solution brings.

Building your problem question list
Now, it’s time to expand your repertoire of problem questions. Reflect on the diverse problems your products and services can address, such as:
• Finding new customers
• Retaining existing customers
• Upselling to existing customers
• Increasing revenue
• Reducing costs
• Boosting profitability
Customise your questions according to the unique value propositions of your offerings. Consider the experiences of your current customers and how your solutions have helped them overcome challenges. This insight can guide the creation of targeted problem questions.

The art of uncovering unrecognised challenges
It’s essential to recognise that potential customers may not be aware of their current challenges in these areas. However, they may be open to exploring the possibility of improvement. This nuanced approach requires finesse in presenting your questions. Rather than assuming a problem, frame the inquiry in a way that encourages reflection and consideration of potential areas for enhancement.

Sales Management: Inspector Clouseau needs Clarity

In the movie The Pink Panther Strikes Again Inspector Clouseau’s encounter with a seemingly harmless dog serves as a metaphor for the unpredictable nature of problems. Inspector Clouseau sees a cute dog and asks the man standing near it, “Does your dog bite?” The man shakes his head and replies, “No.” Inspector Clouseau then reaches out to pat the dog whereupon the dog lashes out and bites his hand. He turns back to the man and says, “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite?” The man casually replies: “That is not my dog.” Just as Clouseau assumed the dog wouldn’t bite based on the owner’s assurance, assumptions in sales can lead to missed opportunities. The art of effective problem questioning lies in unveiling the hidden challenges that may not be immediately apparent.

In the ever-evolving landscape of sales, success hinges on the ability to be a perceptive problem solver. Building your problem question toolkit enables you to navigate conversations with potential customers adeptly. By focusing on their challenges and guiding them to recognise the need for your solutions, you position yourself not just as a seller but as a valuable partner in their journey to success. So, the next time you approach a prospect, remember the power of thoughtful problem questions – they are the key to unlocking doors and forging lasting connections in the world of sales.

Looking for more tips on sales management, from a team with decades of real-world sales experience? Get in touch with our SalesGuru team today!

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