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Discovery Questions Template

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Discovery Questions Template

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It’s counter intuitive, but if you want your salespeople to challenge the status quo and create value with discovery questions, I believe they first need to know the answers before they are able to ask the questions.

Why? Imagine you’re directing someone to a destination: They’ve misinterpreted your directions, and they are now lost. How are you going to get them back on course when all you have are written directions?

After working as a business partner at one of the largest question based sales methodology companies for 5-years, it was my experience that most salespeople find themselves in the same dilemma when they try to direct customers to value with questions. The customer’s answers never follow the sequential nature of the questioning model, because it’s too inflexible to adjust to the fluidity of a business conversation.

To get customers back on course, salespeople don’t need better directions, they need a map. If salespeople, for example, know the answers behind the questions, the answers will paint a picture that salespeople can use as a map. With this map, they can guide customers with directed questions to unrecognized or misunderstood problems, and thereby, create value for their product.

It’s counter intuitive, but if you want your salespeople to challenge the status quo and create value with discovery questions, I believe they first need to know the answers before they are able to ask the questions.

Why? Imagine you’re directing someone to a destination: They’ve misinterpreted your directions, and they are now lost. How are you going to get them back on course when all you have are written directions?

After working as a business partner at one of the largest question based sales methodology companies for 5-years, it was my experience that most salespeople find themselves in the same dilemma when they try to direct customers to value with questions. The customer’s answers never follow the sequential nature of the questioning model, because it’s too inflexible to adjust to the fluidity of a business conversation.

To get customers back on course, salespeople don’t need better directions, they need a map. If salespeople, for example, know the answers behind the questions, the answers will paint a picture that salespeople can use as a map. With this map, they can guide customers with directed questions to unrecognized or misunderstood problems, and thereby, create value for their product.

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Discovery Questions Template

  1. 1. Meet The Customer Where They Are - Build Trust - Before You Guide Them Where They Need To Go - Build Credibility - DISCOVERY QUESTIONS TEMPLATE Customer’s Current State 01 Take The Customer’s Temperature - Don’t Guess Confirm Value 02 Buying Vision Is On Target – Insight Is Not Needed 03 Create Value Buying Vision Is Off Target - Insight When customers understand their problems, salespeople only need to ask generic questions to confirm value, because customers know where to find the answers. When customers don’t fully understand their problems, salespeople must ask directed questions that lead customers to the answers. These questions create value by shining the light of insight on unrecognized or misunderstood problems. “What are you hoping to accomplish?” To determine where you only have to confirm value & where you have to create value, you first need to determine the customer’s buying vision. Let the customer talk themselves out to reduce resistance. Encourage customer to prioritize challenges/ outcomes. PAIN GAIN What are the challenges that are holding you back? Why is that important to you? What are the expected outcomes? Why is that important to you? Challenges/Reasons X- Because … Expected Outcomes/Reasons SOLUTION: “How have you tried to solve this in the past? What’s changed?” Evidence: “Would it help you to (achieve your goal), if you had the ability to (briefly describe capability)?” Impact: “What % do you feel this capability could reduce the cost of (current problem)?” Confirm: “So the potential value of this capability could be $X?” PROBLEM: Evidence: “What constraints are stopping you from achieving your goal?” Impact: “What’s the financial impact?” Confirm: “So, if I understand your situation correctly…” ©2016 www.InsightDemandcom SOLUTION: Same as generic questions in column two On the next page, see the customer story and the customized questions. PROBLEM: Evidence: Customize questions to show how it’s a problem in the customer’s company. Impact: Customize questions to show How Much? How Often? Cost? Confirm: Summarize customer’s answers.
  2. 2. Create Value: Example of Customized Insight Directed Questions First The Story & Then The Questions Evidence: How do you measure your COGS today? Do you buy drop shipments and also buy from local warehouses on the same line? Impact: What’s the price difference? Evidence: Do you buy the same inventory from different suppliers at different prices? Impact: What’s the price difference? Evidence: Do you need to make adjustments to the inventory value when you reconcile your financial statements at the end of the month? If so, how do you know your true cost of goods sold at the time of the sale? Impact: What effect can that have on your margins? What are your total sales? So it could be costing you $x? Confirm: “ So, if I understand you situation correctly…” The questions are easy to create and deliver on the fly with customers when you first know the story behind the questions (click https://youtu.be/Zyn41P5PXDk for a video of the story). Trace, the owner of Omega Auto Parts, needed to know the true profitability of his sales. The problem is that Trace purchases inventory from so many different sources, so he doesn’t know the true cost of his inventory. He can buy the identical part, for instance, with as much as a 30% gross margin difference between a drop ship price with a 3-7 day lead time, and the price from a local warehouse because he’s got to have the part delivered the same day. As a result of the different ways Trace acquires inventory, the real profit on many of his sales is unknown. And it remains unknown until the true cost of his inventory is reconciled at the end of the month on his balance sheet. Until that time his financials just don’t add up. So for 29 days out of 30, Trace is operating in the dark hoping that somehow he’ll be profitable at the end of the month. Because Trace’s business operates on razor thin margins, he realized that he needed to turn the lights on and expose the true cost of goods sold when one month a ½% swing in margin wiped out half his entire net profit. So Trace was relieved to discover that ERP Software was able to provide a solution that allows for up to 14 different vendors costs per part. Now Trace’s purchasing manager can create purchase orders with accurate costs. And Trace’s financials finally match so he can run his business with confidence. But that’s enough about Trace, how do you measure the value for your COGS today? Problem Questions: Evidence: “Would it help you to determine your true profit if you had the ability to list 14 different vendor costs per part? Impact: What % do you feel this capability could reduce the cost of not measuring your true COGS? Confirm: So the potential value of this capability could be $X? Solution Questions How have you tried to solve it in the past? What’s changed? Directed Insight Based Questions Directed Insight Based Questions
  3. 3. Problem Questions Solution Questions Template: Create Value With Insight Directed Questions E/I EVIDENCE & IMPACT QUESTIONS Confirm Question: “ So, if I understand you situation correctly…” How have you tried to solve it in the past? What’s changed? Evidence Questions Would it help you to (achieve your goal) ______________________________________________ if you had the ability to (briefly describe what your capability does) ___________________________________________________________________________________ ? Impact Question What percent do you feel this capability could reduce the cost of (current problem) _______________________________________ ? Confirm Question: So the potential value of this capability could be $X?
  4. 4. Problem Questions Solution Questions Template: Create Value With Insight Directed Questions E/I EVIDENCE & IMPACT QUESTIONS Confirm Question: “ So, if I understand you situation correctly…” How have you tried to solve it in the past? What’s changed? Evidence Questions Would it help you to (achieve your goal) ______________________________________________ if you had the ability to (briefly describe what your capability does) ___________________________________________________________________________________ ? Impact Question What percent do you feel this capability could reduce the cost of (current problem) _______________________________________ ? Confirm Question: So the potential value of this capability could be $X?

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