Closing the Deal on the Go: Questionnaires

During the last couple weeks our director of social media, Daniel Nuccio, has been preparing a survey to help us better answer some questions about the readers of our company e-newsletter and the level of value they find in it as a whole, as well as its individual parts. As I have been keeping an eye on his progress, and what he will send out within the next week or so, I got to thinking about the qualification questionnaires many sales people deal with every day, and what I had previously written about them in my book, Closing the Deal. Here’s a taste of it.

When constructing a qualification questionnaire, you will you will want to put together the info you need to conduct a successful sale. The best way to begin is by examining your current customers. What is their basic business, industry, and size? What do you sell them? How much do you sell them? How did you find them? How do they use your product or service?

When structuring your questionnaire you will want to do so in a way that eliminates unqualified prospects quickly. To do this it is best to ask the broadest possible questions first, then have them get increasingly narrower with the order determined by what will eliminate unqualified prospects from further consideration and what will a prospect be likely to share early in the questionnaire (questions about budgets are best left for the end). Also, the questionnaire should be structured in a way that “yes” answers take you closer to a sale, while “no” answers either end the conversation or put you on another track. You should also remember that more open ended questions may lead to different tracks as well, such as those related to how much a customer buys of your product or service.

When you use you questionnaire, you will need to take one of two approaches: the survey approach or the cold call approach. In either case, be sure to maintain a conversational tone and high level of familiarity with your questionnaire. In the survey approach, you are straight forward that you are conducting a survey, but will experience a high degree of resistance. In the cold calling approach, on the other hand, you go in planning to take the selling cycle as far as possible, but often have to settle for less than 100%.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

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