When leads or enquiries come in to you asking you for a price or a proposal, a very important first step in telephone sales is to qualify the person asking you for this. If you don’t, you could be wasting your time creating a beautiful proposal for them and never hear from them again.

Now I could only teach you this if I had not been aware of what I was doing myself recently. Yes, because I got really busy this month, I skipped the step of asking the questions I knew I should have asked, did the quotes and proposals by email and wondered why my follow-up call voicemails were not responded to.

In nearly all cases, the person asking for the proposal was not the decision maker. They were requested by the boss to get the information so a good question I could have asked could have been:-

“Who else are you going to be speaking with about this decision?”

Then ask if you could have the opportunity to speak to them directly, as you have a number of questions you would like to ask them before quoting, to ensure you can give them exactly what they are looking for. If that fails, ask some more questions to know how serious they are at doing business with you and find out if they are just comparing prices.

“When would you be looking at moving forward on the proposal if accepted?”

Then you need to know what other quotes and options your prospect is considering. Here are some suggestions for questions.

May I ask how many other quotes I am competing with?

Why are you looking for other suppliers?

What specifically are you looking for in another product/solution

What will make our quote the one you choose?

If they can’t answer them, they will eventually give you the decision maker’s direct number and you can do the convincing direct!

Remember unless you can find out what problems and solutions the decision maker is looking to solve, you cannot put a convincing proposal together.

Ask what the problem is that they are trying to solve by using your service and product and then ask the pain questions:-

Roughly how much is that costing you at the moment?

How many times a year does this problem happen?

Allan Pease, one of my favourite speakers says “Questions are the Answer”. Yes, I think they are.

It’s time to think of some more questions you can ask the prospect.

Jenny Cartwright – International Sales Trainer / Speaker / Coach
Author of “Don’t Get Hung up! – How to sell products and services by phone” and “Secrets of Top Sales Professionals.”

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