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Using Effective Questions to Gain Buyer Commitment

Sold_File.pngYour presentation to the prospect has just wrapped up. You’ve offered a compelling solution and built rapport and credibility with the decision makers. You are so close to landing this deal, and then you hear the dreaded words - “We’ll get back to you.” You get in your car with the other presenters (or call your manager) and discuss how it seemed like it went really well, but then at the very end they were non-committal. Maybe they were really enthusiastic, but uncommitted nonetheless: “This has been really great! We’ll get back to you soon!”

Sound familiar?

The key to building on a successful presentation is to ask questions that confirm the buyer’s level of interest, address any outstanding concerns, and nail down a definitive next step that moves the sales process forward or wins the business. Here are 8 questions you can use that are effective in determining your position and gaining buyer commitment.

1.  “What else have we not discussed that you would like us to cover?”

Make sure you didn’t leave out anything that is important to their decision-making process. While you might have nailed all of your talking points in your presentation, you didn’t even touch on an area that is critical to at least one of the buyers.

2.  “What questions or concerns do you have?”

We tend to want to avoid questions and concerns. If they don’t bring it up, then it must not be that important. But this is where we lose deals we should win. As a sales person, you need to make sure that you have completely addressed any questions or concerns that any of the attendees has about your service. And if you sense your answer doesn’t accomplish this, then recommend you have a follow up discussion to specifically address that particular issue.

3.  “On a scale of 1 to 10, how does our solution meet your needs? What would make it a 10?”

With this question we are trying to understand exactly where our solution stands in their eyes, and compared to our competition. Anything less than a 9 means that you have not presented an ideal solution to them. Understanding what would be a 10 in the buyers eyes gives you a chance to offer alternatives or clarify that your service does provide what they are looking for.

4.  “What is the next step in the process?”

While this seems like a no-brainer to ask, many times we leave without clearly understanding what should happen next, and how close they are to making a decision. Knowing the next step gives us a clearer picture of where we stand, and helps us determine what we need to do next in the sales process.

5.  “What is your timeline?”

This is a critical question for several reasons. One, it helps us plan for implementation and servicing the account if we win it. Two, it determines the urgency with which we communicate with the client. And three, it forces the client to commit to at least a ballpark timeline that we can remind them of it the process starts to stall.

6.  “How do we stack up against other presentations you have seen?”

Rather than assume where we stand while we wait for their decision, why not find out now? This question also is another way to see where our service offering may be falling short in their eyes, and address questions or concerns that buyers have.

7.  “Based on what you’ve seen today, how can we get started working together?”

If all evidence points to the fact that you nailed the presentation and they love what you have to offer, then don’t wait to hear back from them. Ask them to move forward right now.

8.  “Do we seem like a good fit for you? Great, what do we need to do get started?”

A less assumptive alternative to the previous question, but essentially the same approach. This two-part question starts with asking for a yes, then follows up with asking for their business.

Maintaining and building on momentum is critical to any sale. Don’t let a stellar presentation go stale while you are waiting for the prospect to “get back to you.” Make sure you ask questions that root out any lingering questions or concerns, determine where you stand in the process, and gain commitment for a specific next step or the sale.


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