Every interaction with a prospective customer is a stepping stone towards conversion, but that very first interaction is perhaps the most important one. It gives you the opportunity to make a striking impression, establish your business’ relevance, and convince the prospect that you’re the right person for the job. Moreover, it allows you to understand exactly what the prospect wants from you and how they perceive your organization.
So, to lay the foundation for quick conversion, here are a few introductory questions that we recommend you ask all prospects. Take a look.
What are your goals and expectations?
It is advisable to directly enquire about big-picture goals and your prospect’s expectations from your business. This will help you provide accurate solutions and judge whether you’re a good fit for each other. This question brings in transparency and makes room for meaningful interactions in the future as well.
What is the ROI you are aiming for, and how soon do you want to achieve your target?
Next up, understand expectations pertaining to Return on Investment (ROI). Once you initiate this discussion, you also have the scope to communicate the long-term value that you will provide to the prospect.
Apart from knowing what he/she expects in terms of returns, it is crucial that you know the duration in which the prospect wants to achieve the target ROI. If the timeline is not feasible, for instance, you can work on adjusting the prospect’s expectations, or honestly explain why the ask can’t be met and what the next best solution is.
In the worst-case scenario, it will help you determine if you need to walk away from the transaction.
Shall we explore an alternate approach?
If the prospect’s requirements do not match with the services that you typically offer or in the way that you usually offer them, ask this question. If at the back of their mind they are looking for a lenient payment structure, a discount or, a different delivery system, asking this question might help them express their thoughts without any hesitation. It’ll also speak to your adaptiveness and eagerness to help a prospective customer.
What do you think your best option is at the moment?
In the event that you have built a rapport with the prospect, consider asking this question, especially if you’re aware that you’re competing with other firms for the business. Instead of skirting around the issue, addressing it head-on can work to your advantage. By acknowledging the elephant in the room, you can steer the conversation in a direction where you can emphasize on how you provide greater value than others, and also highlight your USPs. Once again, veer into this territory only if the prospect has warmed up to you, and isn’t seeming hesitant during your conversation.
Do you have any doubts or reservations?
Sometimes, towards the end of your conversation, you may find that your prospect seems disinterested or has hinted that you may not be the best fit for their business. In such a scenario, ask them what is holding them back. It gives you a second chance to quell any doubts that the prospect may have, reinforce your credibility and expertise, and even offer clarity in case they misunderstood something the first time around.
Bonus question: Are there any boxes that we have left unchecked?
When you make this question a part of your initial information-gathering process, you give your prospect some time to think of anything else that they’d like to add to the conversation. It’s a good way to round out the interaction. It’s also effective, as it can help you discover additional information that will aid you in positioning your business better. In some cases, it can also give you the opportunity to build on your scope of work.
While this is a good place to start, use these questions as a guide to steer the conversation naturally. Remember, if the prospect feels like he/she is being grilled or put on the spot, the conversation isn’t going to culminate in anything fruitful! So, use this article as a guide, but also follow your instincts to get the most from an introductory or exploratory conversation, while creating maximum impact.