I’ve noticed a trend the last few years in inside sales, it’s slowly been eating away at my ear drums and it’s finally worked it’s way into my nerves. It happens on demo’s all across the world every day, if only Zoom, Join.me and Uber Conference could use AI to count the # of times an Account Ex responds to a pretty basic question with the phrase “That’s a Great Question!” Let’s all put a stop to it together, I’m not here to be negative. My hope is to give Account Executives a different way to approach answers to prospects questions during the sales journey that will elevate their game. I can promise you making this one modification will improve your discovery calls, demos and pipeline conversations. The most important part of the sales process is asking the right questions, the more actionable data you have, the more likely you are to close any deal.
Let’s talk about why “That’s a Great Question” isn’t the optimal response to a prospects question.
- It isn’t genuine: not every question is a great question, sometimes it’s a really basic question about an integration, how analytics tracking works, or a specific feature. It’s not about a question being a great question. It’s about why the answer is important to the prospect. Or sometimes it’s about knowing what impact the answer will have on the prospect and your chances of getting the deal. Dig a level deeper with them and you’ll find some golden nuggets of data that will be actionable later on I promise. Which leads to our net bullet
- It doesn’t dig deeper: the prospect just shared something with you that was important enough to ask. It’s an opportunity for you to find out why the answer to this question is important to them or what context it actually has. Perhaps the competitor you don’t know your battling against can provide the right answer to this question. You’ll never know if you don’t find out.
- You’re not listening: when “That’s a Great Question” becomes a habit, you stop listening to the prospect. You simply waiting for your turn to serve up your bland, vanilla can’d response. When your not listening, you can’t make crucial pivots during conversations to take as much control of the sales process as you can.
- It does’t strengthen the prospect relationship: providing a positive affirmation that any account exec could provide doesn’t help you win the relationship battle against your competitor. Giving a prospect a unique buying journey with a consultative approach is what strengthens the fibers between the account exec and the prospect.
So one thing I always do when I present a problem, is to also present a solution. I always start by asking questions before I try to solve the problem. So what would be better than this response? What questions can I ask to expand upon the prospects question that will give me an advantage over my competition in the sales battle. Here are some thoughts around different question categories and what I would want to know to give me the leg up against my competition in a SaaS deal battle.
- Product Feature Questions: here the prospect is likely measuring your feature set against an existing solution or the other one they are considering adopting. I want to know if they currently use this feature, if the feature is mission critical, what competitive tools they are also evaluating and why this feature is important. What does this feature impact for the end user or your company? Does it impact ease of use, revenue, segmentation, etc? Also remember on feature sets, it doesn’t always matter if you have the exact some feature as a competitive tool, but often times it is important if you can get the prospect the same result that feature produces. Sometimes if a feature isn’t a first class citizen in your product, it doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish it with a workaround the prospect is comfortable with.
- Integration Questions: ah, the every growing tech stack, there’s a software now for every stage of every funnel of the customer lifecycle isn’t there? This is a very common pain point during a sales journey. If a prospect is asking if you integrate with a specific technology you want to find out the following; are they currently using this software, are they open to a similar solution, or if you can find a creative way to integrate with their tech stack with a too like center.io or zapier.com.
- Pricing Questions: pricing is one of my favorite conversations, it’s really an opportunity to shine as an Account Exec and here is why. The prospect has so much of the power right now. By the time the prospects gets to you they’ve taken in product and pricing data on you and your competitors, so they are prepared to try to leverage that. What they aren’t prepared for is how you handle pricing objections, that should be a proprietary strength for each Account Exec in order to take bake as much of the power back as she or he can. When you start fielding pricing questions, here is what you want to know. What pricing levers are they currently metered on and how do they feel about it. What the current satisfaction is with their existing tool you are hoping to replace is. If they perceive your tool as a low, mid or high cost option. Based upon their reactions during your demo’s, how do they view your solutions price to value ratio. You want to be prepared with the 1-3 key results your product will deliver to your prospects business that your competitors can’t and the impact it will have on their business. Remember pricing isn’t only about the number, it’s about the value associated with the number. Always bring the prospect back to value by asking good questions to help them surface the price to value ration.
Ok, I’d love to do a bunch more categories of questions but I don’t have time. With our thoughts from above in mind, here is how we can replace “That’s a Great Question” for once and for all and get more valuable data from our prospects to match the right solution to their desired result.
Responses to Replace “That’s a Great Question.”
- Product Feature Questions Response:
- We do have that feature, do you currently use this feature with your existing tool?
- What result does this feature currently drive for you?
- In your own words, why is this feature mission critical for your team?
- Did (competitor) tell you we don’t have this feature?
- We don’t have that feature actually, what impact does that have on your evaluation of our solution?
- This isn’t a feature directly in our UI, but you can accomplish the result that feature provides, are you open to looking at a work around with me?
- We don’t have that specific feature, can you tell me the result you are hoping the feature produces for you? Maybe I can find a different way to accomplish the same result.
- Integration Question Responses:
- Is this a tool you are currently using?
- We do integrate with this tool, does your existing solution integrate with it as well?
- What actionable process does this integration allow you to execute on?
- We don’t integrate with that tool directly, but we do integrate through a third party are you open looking at that with me?
- From a results stand point, where is it important to you that we directly integrate with this tool?
- I know that (competitive tool) doesn’t integrate with this tool either, is it safe to assume this is a nice to have vs. a must have for you and your team?
- Pricing Question Responses:
- I’m happy to talk about pricing, have you been to our pricing page yet? If so, what is your general sense for how our pricing works?
- Did you seek out our solution because you perceived us as a strong price to value ratio option in our space? Ok, great and based on all the pricing data you have, do you perceive us as a high, mid or low cost to value ratio solution?
- Sure, let’s talk about pricing, since your coming off of a much more expensive tool, I assume your aware not only are we going to deliver you more value than your current tool, but that we will be a bit lower in cost as well?
- Sure lets talk about pricing, I’d like to call something out though, keep in mind although we are more expensive than (competitor) they aren’t solving your problems in these key areas and we are (list areas).
- Let’s talk about pricing, I agree it’s time, let me ask you this though, outside of you, who is all involved in the pricing discussion internally over at (company name)?
- I agree that we are a more expensive solution than your used to, let’s talk about how we can have some flexibility with one another and both walk away happy.
- I understand you’re coming off a solution that is less expensive and I really appreciate that I have the opportunity to have this discussion with you. Let me say this though, the reason your coming off your existing solution is because it’s not delivering the key results you shared with me during this journey.
- Sure let’s talk pricing, in order for me to provide the most flexibility and accurate information, can you tell me if you historically prefer monthly or annual contracts?
Okay, so I hope that helps eradicate those 4 terrible words we have all let so eloquently stumble out of our mouths for years. If I were to ask you if you enjoyed this post, would you now say…… “That’s a Great Question.” Damn, I sure hope not….or I failed 😉
Have fun, give your prospects a unique buying journey, crush deals and remember always…………….. identify, feed and grow the animal within.