How to Ask Effective Questions at Every Stage of the Buyer’s Journey in Consultative Sales

Sales is no longer just about pushing a product or service onto a potential customer. Today’s consumers are well-informed and have access to a wealth of information that allows them to make informed decisions about what they need and who they want to buy from. As a result, sales has become an increasingly consultative profession over the past few years. As a sales professional, your job is to provide prospects with helpful and specific resources that will assist them in making an informed decision about your product or service. To do this, you need to be knowledgeable, reliable, and trustworthy. In this article, we explore some of the most effective questions you can ask at each stage of the buyer’s journey to position yourself as a consultative sales expert.

The Shift Towards Consultative Sales

To be successful in consultative sales, you need to be able to provide prospects with valuable resources that they can use to make an informed decision. This means moving away from the outdated tactics of just throwing any and all product information at prospects to see what sticks. Instead, you need to provide targeted and specific resources that align with the prospect’s needs and interests.

Providing helpful and specific resources

One of the key features of consultative selling is the ability to provide prospects with relevant and specific resources that can help them better understand what you have to offer. This includes things like whitepapers, ebooks, case studies, and product demos. By providing prospects with these resources, you can help them better understand your product, its key benefits, and how it can solve their problems.

Framing yourself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy resource

Another essential feature of consultative sales is positioning yourself as a knowledgeable, reliable, and trustworthy resource. By doing this, you can build a strong and lasting relationship with your prospects that goes beyond just a transactional interaction. This means knowing the ins-and-outs of your product, its key benefits, and how it compares to the competition. By demonstrating your expertise, you can show prospects that you are a credible and trustworthy source of information.

Effective Questions to Ask at Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

During the consideration stage

During the consideration stage, prospects are internally setting budgets and priorities, and it’s the best time to get your foot in the door. The questions you ask during this stage are critical to establishing a strong relationship with your prospect. Here are some of the most effective questions you can ask during this stage:

Setting budgets and priorities

– What budget have you allocated for this product or service?
– How do you prioritize your needs when making purchase decisions?
– What factors are most important to you when evaluating different solutions?

Getting Your Foot in the Door

– What led you to consider our product as a potential solution?
– What are the key challenges you are having trouble solving at the moment?
– Could you please provide more details about the decision-making process within your organization?

Importance of Being Low-Touch

At this stage, you want to keep things low-touch, and there’s a fine line between being helpful and pushy. If you push too hard, you run the risk of souring your relationship with a prospect by pushing them to act before they’re ready. To avoid this, make sure to ask open-ended questions that allow the prospect to share information at their own pace.

Focus on the Solution, Not the Purchase

It’s essential to focus on the solution, not the purchase, during the sales process. When you focus on the solution, you show the prospect that you are interested in solving their problem, not just closing the sale. Here are some questions to ask that can help you focus on the solution:

– What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing?
– How could our product or service help you overcome these challenges?
– What would a successful outcome look like to you?

Recognizing the risk involved in buying a new product

Buying a new product isn’t traumatic, but there is still some risk involved. The prospect needs to trust that the product will deliver on its promises and that it is worth the investment. Here are some questions that can help you recognize and overcome the risks involved:

– What concerns do you have about our products or services?
– How do you typically approach purchasing decisions like this?
– Who else in your organization will be impacted by this decision?

Effective questioning is an essential part of consultative selling. These questions have served me well throughout my career in sales, and I frequently use them to gather important information from my conversations. By asking the right questions at the right time, you can build trust, demonstrate your expertise, and provide valuable resources that help prospects make an informed decision about your product or service. If you adopt these tactics, you will be well on your way to building strong, lasting relationships with your prospects.

Explore more