Are You Asking the Right Questions?
If you want to continually grow and produce more profit, which questions do you need to ask?
Do you ask sales questions – get sales answers or do you ask revenue questions – get revenue answers?
Really both are OK if you ask them in the right order. Always ask your revenue questions first. Ask the 5 Revenue Strategy Questions before you do anything else:
- What is your Brand Promise?
- What is the “Customer’s Problem” you solve for the customer that “no one else” solves?
- What is the niche or niches you dominate by solving that problem for the customer?
- Who is the ideal buyer who has the problem you solve?
- What is the compelling offer you make to the ideal customer to secure an ongoing value based relationship?
Next ask how you will deploy the answers in order to provide value to the buyer and receive value from the buyer. Now ask about the detailed deployment steps of the Revenue RoadMap. These detailed steps include all parts of letting the market know your brand promise and the problem you solve. This includes how that combination is supported by your thought leadership and has a promise of value for the buyer. That promise results in buyers wanting to talk with you to learn more about how working together may make sense.
As a result of the web, social media and your behavior in the market, you are transparent. Once a buyer knows you exist, they validate the truth of your message by reviewing your behavior. They watch your behavior as a member of the community, an employer and a business engaging customers.
If your thought leadership is compelling and your transparency aligns to your thought leadership promise, the potential buyer will raise their hand for a conversation. They raise their hand by shaking yours at a trade show, calling or emailing you and when they are regular readers of your blogs or visitors to your electronic content.
This is the point you have a “highly qualified suspect,” and NOW you get to ask sales questions. This is where sales takes over – up to a point. The first sales question is how to determine a “qualified prospect” from a “highly-qualified suspect.”
Suspects look like they have the problem we solve, are in the niche we want to dominate, and we are having a conversation with someone we believe to be an ideal buyer.
Prospects tell us they have the problem we solve, they are compelled to solve it in the short-term and are willing to invest resources in working with us to determine if we should work together on this problem.
With a prospect, the sales function has to have a very intentional way to explore if we should work together (a Joint SOW process), and at the end of that process, both parties will commit to next steps.
If the next step is to move to contract, the seller has to have an intentional client-focused engagement model.
At the point the engagement model is executed, the sales questions transition to delivery questions.
Too often we ask sales questions wanting revenue answers (revenue strategy + marketing + sales + delivery) and then act surprised when the answers don’t produce the right results.
The revenue world is simple, just not one dimensional – ask the right question and get the right answer.
I must agree that asking the right questions in the right order will give you the answers you need. Thus, it is important that you don’t rush on your inquiries. Take time to sit and plan what you want to achieve in order to come up with the right questions.