How to quickly demonstrate credibility to your buyer on a sales call
Transform your questions with this template
Top sales leaders know that establishing credibility with your buyer is the key to having a shot at winning their business.
In the past it was easy to let your product do the talking but with so many vendors now in every vertical all selling similar solutions, it’s getting harder and harder for buyers to tell the difference between you and your competitors.
What’s more, today’s buyers are compelled to talk to multiple vendors in order to show their colleagues that they’ve done enough research, which makes them eager to narrow down the field as quickly as possible, usually after the first meeting.
To make the cut, today’s vendors need to rely more on their salespeople to separate themselves from the competition in that the first meeting. A very effective way to achieve this is by adding context to your discovery questions to demonstrate your credibility.
The 3 problems with traditional open-ended questions
Salespeople have long been trained to ask open-ended questions, such as “what challenges do you have with your current solution?”, or “how are you measuring success?”, because open-ended questions are a proven way to get buyers talking and sharing their problems.
However, when it comes to demonstrating credibility, traditional open-ended questions fall short in 3 areas:
They don’t guide the conversation towards solvable problems.
They don’t demonstrate your expertise in the problem area.
They don’t show that you have solved the problem for other customers.
What’s more, if asked in the wrong tone, a series of open-ended questions can feel more like an interrogation than a conversation and simply turn off the buyer.
How to use context to demonstrate credibility
The good news is all 3 of these issues can be avoided by adding context to your open-ended questions. As a salesperson, your superpower is your expertise in solving a defined set of problems for your customers and it is this expertise that gives you the context to guide your buyers through the buying process.
Consider the traditional open-ended question AE’s use to uncover buyer pain points:
“What challenges do you have with your current solution?”
Add in the context of your known pain points with the buyer’s current solution and the question becomes:
“Customers who moved over from <current solution> told us that <pain point 1> and <pain point 2> were their biggest challenges. How does that compare to your experience?”
In one question you have guided the conversation towards solvable problems by referencing the known pain points with the buyer’s current solution, demonstrated your expertise in the problem area by focusing on the known pain points and shown you have solved the problem for other customers, by referencing other customers.
As another example, consider the traditional open-ended question to uncover buyer KPIs:
“How are you measuring success?”
Add in the context of the key metric that your exec sponsor customers typically look to move and by how much they typically look to move it transforms the question into:
“Most of the <exec sponsor>s we talk to are looking for a solution like this to move <key metrics> by <average impact to metric>. How does that compare to what you are aiming for?”
In a single question you have guided your buyer towards the metric that your product moves, demonstrating your expertise in the problem area and framed what success looks like for similar customers, demonstrating you have solved the problem for similar customers.
Get the template to add context to any question
You can follow a similar approach to transform any traditional open-ended question, for example any of the following:
“What’s the next step on your end?”
“What’s your budget for this project?”
“Who else is involved in making the decision?”
“When do you need a solution to be in place?”
“How are you measuring success?”
“What challenges do you have with your current situation?”
Here are the templates to transform each of these questions: