Ray Collis

10 Questions That Reveal What You Must Do To Win The Sale

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The professional salesperson is a student of buying. This is particularly important at a time when buying decisions have become increasingly complex. The success of a deal depends on understanding now only how the buying decision will be made, but also the business decision that so often underlies it.

With this in mind we have put together 10 of the most important questions that salespeople need to answer in respect of each opportunity in their pipeline. Answering these questions and considering the implications of each has the potential to significantly increase your chances of success.

Questions To be Asked
Implications To be Considered
1. Who are all the stakeholders?
Do we understand the requirements of all stakeholders, not just technical, for example? How can we ensure access, without by-passing agreed channels?
2. Who are all the decision makers & influencers?
Have we had contact with all the decision makers? Do we understand their personal, as well as business drivers? How are we positioned with each?
3. Is there a clear definition of requirements?
Is the requirements definition clear? How has it been gathered? Is it complete – are there needs that we can additionally address? Has it been validated? Have requirements been prioritized, with any contradictions and tradeoffs addressed? Is the weighting of requirements reflect our strengths and minimize our weaknesses, or can be influence it to do so?
4. What is the buying process? What are the key steps? How long will it take?
How sophisticated is the buying process? What stage is the prospect at now:
·Recognition of need?
· Search for a solution?
· Selection of supplier?
5. What about competing projects (that includes ‘do it in-house’)?
Are there competing projects for the same budget? Could the project be delivered in-house? Could the project be delayed till next quarter, or next year? What factors will determine the selection of these options?
6. Is a business case required? What format will it take? Who will write it?
Can we provide information that will help build the business case, in terms of:
Risk? (including implementation)
That includes a model to create quantify benefits and total cost of ownership.
7. What is the role of procurement?
Have we had contact with procurement? Do we understand their requirements?
8. Is there a shortlist of vendors? How many? What is the criterion?
How do we rate on the shortlist criteria? Can we help shape the criterion?
9. At what level is final sign-off required?
If this requires board level sign-off for example – how will this impact on selection? How does our proposal connect with strategy? Has our proposition being CEO proofed? Can we have access to / inform board members in advance of the decision?
10. Who is in the role of business analyst – that is the bridge between technical and business – whose role it is to create the business case?
Who has this responsibility? If there is no person (for example the IT director is creating the business case) then this raises issues regarding how the proposal will be reviewed at board level, for example.
So, for each opportunity in your pipeline, ask each of the questions outlined above, considering the implications of your answers for your next steps in managing that opportunity to the point of closing.

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