Case study: How to ask 80% fewer questions during a sales call and learn about client’s real needs?
Let me invite you to read a case study from an online workshop we conducted recently with our customer sales department:)
Problem: the bottleneck in a sales process which reduces the number of potential customers. A lot of potential customers were reporting to a sales department, but after receiving the sales offer, they resigned without further negotiations.
- creation of a sales call scenario which would aim to examine customer’s real needs,
- use of open questions in a sales call,
- specific recommendation of actions for the client at the end of the sales call (initial offer),
- creation of a new offer sent after a sales pitch which would include all the necessary issues for the customer.
We conducted workshops with the Sales Department which was facing a bottleneck problem that severely limited their sales process.
1. Test phone calls
At the very beginning of the workshop, we conducted short, 15-minute-long, private phone calls with participants during which we played a role of a potential client. In the middle of a call, we we writing down questions that employees asked us and we picked out missing issues.
2. Feedback after the calls
After we completed the calls, we carried out an open feedback session during which we discussed pros, cons, and deficiencies in the talks. For example, the calls had a lot of closed questions which firmly closed the possibility to learn about customer’s needs. In the next step, we asked participants to write down on separate pieces of adhesive paper questions that they ask during everyday conversations with potential customers and glue them on to the flip chart divided into 3 parts (Business, Scope and Recommendation) .
3. Analysis of calls and development of an optimized list of questions
We have analyzed them jointly and we have set out the most important issues that should be addressed in such conversations. On their basis, we have created a much smaller, but a definite and adapted to clients list of questions. Thanks to this, we have achieved about 80% lower number of questions (we managed to close the whole scenario in 7 questions). Example: “What are you selling?”, “What do you want to achieve?”, “What actions did you perform up to date?”, “What problems have you encountered so far?”.
4. Closing the sales call
We have also worked through a closing of a sales call with a specific recommendation for a client (that would fit their needs). We analyzed the services that employees may offer to potential customers during sale to fit their individual needs which at the same time would be a part of the offer.
5. Test phone calls with new questions
We conducted further test phone calls (based on the real-life case studies) during which workshop participants talked with us using the newly developed questions. Calls with these questions showed a large change in the approach to examine the actual needs of the client.
After new talks, we felt that we were taken care of and we felt that our problem which we came with was understood and refined. We also got specific proposals for action that made sense in the solution of our problems.
6. Optimization of the sales offer
The next step was to improve the sales offer that customers received, however, a very small proportion continued to make contact regarding potential cooperation.
We asked the participants to use colorful self-adhesive pieces of paper to list pros and cons which they see in the whole sales process that they were applying at the time. Together, we analyzed them and we were wondering what we could change in this process to eliminate the cons and to make good use of the advantages company’s current offer. Based on the analysis, we were able to create a pattern of sales offer which combines all of the most important issues.
Out of 40 pages of presentation, we went down to 5 which contained the most important elements of the offer, without the unnecessary pages. The offering included such pages as:
1. Title page (who is the offer for, who prepared it, contact, deployment aim)
2. Deployment scope, price, term
3. Additional services
4. Work methodology (rate of implementation, the way it works)
5. Portfolio (links to works/mockups, customer list)
Action worked through at the workshop helped to streamline and improve the quality of sales calls which allowed to make customers feel that their needs are met and the issues are fixed. We also created a new offer model that will be sent after the calls and that customers will be able to read within 5 minutes.
We managed to achieve all of this during a 5-day sprint which the workshop covered together with the development of a canvas with a new call scenario and the new (in terms of content and design) template of sales offer.
Would you like to organise such a workshop or your company or just to talk about your process?