If you listen to conventional sales advice, you would think that it's normal to feel out of control in B2B sales!
You would think that the sense of powerlessness is just a part of the process that you have to learn to deal with.
However, we're here to tell you that that out of control feeling is killing your sales potential. Not only that, but it's also a horrible feeling that no salesperson should feel or needs to feel.
Forget conventional sales advice and get this: You can regain control of your B2B sales process, feel more empowered, and close more deals by addressing a single pervasive problem.
No more feeling like you are at the constant mercy of your prospects only to lose out on the deal in the end!
What problem are we talking about, though?
Not only are we sharing what that problem is, but we are also addressing how to correct it so that you can immediately regain control in your sales process.
Even better, the problem is simple to fix!
Ready to be in control, empower yourself, and live up to your full sales potential? This is your chance.
What is the B2B Selling Process?
The B2B sales process, or B2B sales cycle, is the series of steps that get you to a closed deal.
In short, it usually goes something like this:
- Lead generation in your target audience
- Qualifying leads
- Sales outreach, including outbound tactics (cold calling, emailing, etc.) & inbound marketing (SEO, social media, etc.)
- Making the sales pitch
- Closing the deal
Moreover, it's about taking your B2B buyers through the sales funnel. They start as potential leads, and then eventually become paying customers.
While every B2B company's sales process varies slightly, there are two keys to success that can't be overlooked by any company!
What is the Goal of a B2B Sales Process?
Like we mentioned above, the ultimate goal of the B2B sales process is to get to a closed deal.
However, there are several smaller sub-goals that need to be met before you can reach that point. And, achieving these small goals is the key to success. If you don’t achieve the sub-goals, then don’t expect the ultimate goal to happen!
The two key sub goals that you 100% need to focus on are:
- Discovering the prospects pain points
- Discovering how you can most effectively solve those pain points
First off, the whole point of sales is to solve pain points. Therefore, if you don't know what your prospect's pain points are, then you are sunk.
Second, once you know what your prospect's problems are, then all you need to focus on is delivery. What do you need to do to serve your prospects so that their worst pain points get solved?
In short, B2B sales works like this: discover and then serve.
If your sales strategy does those two things, then consider the prospect your paying customer.
Here’s Why Your B2B Sales Process Feels Out of Control
The sales process sounds pretty simple, right? It’s only a matter of finding out what the prospect’s problems are and how to best solve them.
Well, it is simple. Yet, an astounding proportion of sales teams feel out of control in the sales process.
Believe it or not, but there is a single sales tool that so many sales reps forget to employ. As a result, they never get to the bottom of their prospect's problems and how to solve them. Then as a result of that, they feel out of control.
So, what sales tool is it that salespeople aren't using?
It's the humble question.
Yes, questions are key to you regaining control over the sales process!
Here's the thing... Salespeople feel out of control when they believe that they don't have power over the situation. And, the reason that they don't have power is because they don't have enough knowledge about their prospects.
It’s like they say… Knowledge = power. Power makes people feel in control.
And, the way to attain knowledge is by asking prospect’s questions!
Now, you might be thinking that it all sounds too easy. You might be thinking that asking questions isn’t all you need to regain control.
Well, the truth is that the most basic of all sales tactics are often the most effective. Therefore, it should be your goal to do less talking and more listening! Less telling and more asking!
In short: If you don’t ask enough of the right questions in the right way, then you will never feel in control of your sales process.
To help get you started with asking questions, we are sharing exactly what questions to ask and how to ask them.
By the end of this, you will know exactly how to regain control of your sales process!
How to Get Back in Control of the Sales Process By Asking Questions
Of all the sales tools in the world, the most effective one is the humble question.
It's not your fancy SAAS, CRM, or sales enablement platform. Instead, it's using your voice to ask questions.
Take back control of your B2B sales process by asking the right questions!
Control comes from having power, and power comes from knowledge that you get from asking questions. Sales success is in your hands!
1. Don’t Make Initial Assumptions
When it comes to asking questions, many sales reps' first mistake comes before they even get the prospect in front of them.
By that, we mean that they start to make a ton of assumptions about their qualified leads without ever having talked to them. Instead of showing up to the sales pitch with a clean outlook, they think they already know who it is they are talking to.
In the salesperson's mind, they've already created a persona of who their prospect is based on some basic research they did about them on their website and LinkedIn.
However, this is a detrimental mistake.
The problem is that we all think we know someone! We think we know what our prospect's pain points are and what their personalities are like without ever having talked to them before.
But, you don't need us to tell you that people are more complicated than what we initially assume. Therefore, most of the time our first impressions are wrong!
With that said, if you walk into the sales meeting already thinking that you know who your new leads are, then think again! More likely than not, you are wrong about them.
Your goal should be to walk in with a clean-slated mind so that you can be fully receptive to every question that your prospect answers.
If you wouldn't like for someone to make assumptions about you, then don't do the same with your prospects!
2. Ask Questions to the Decision-Makers
When it comes to building customer relationships with your potential customers, you should have several touchpoints of contact within the prospect company.
But, once you kick off the sales cycle, you should focus mostly on working with the prospect company’s key stakeholders. Those are the people who hold the greatest authority over the buying process.
If you're working with a small business, then odds are that whomever you are speaking with has authority over the buying process.
But, if your prospect company is medium to large, perhaps 50 people or more, then odds are that whomever you are speaking with might not have the direct authority to make a buying decision.
The goal behind getting in touch with the decision makers is to be able to question them specifically. Because, at the end of the day, they are the ones who have the final say about the purchasing decision.
Instead of going through the entire sales process asking questions to people who don't have authority, why not directly question those who do have authority?
The sooner you can get to asking those specific people questions, the greater the odds are that you will win them as a new customer.
Because at the end of the day, the people who make the final decision are those who you need to please the most!
3. Ask Direct Questions Without Cornering the Prospect
Here's the thing: If you have a direct sales approach, you will get direct results. On the other hand, if you have an indirect sales approach, you will have indirect or flaky results.
Therefore, if you want to ask your B2B company prospect a question, then don't beat around the bush. Ask them directly what you need to know if you want a direct answer.
All too often, sales teams don't ask their prospect companies direct questions out of fear that they will sound harsh or make the prospect feel uncomfortable.
However, that is only true if the way in which you say the question makes them feel that way.
Moreover, when it comes to asking excellent sales questions, you need to make sure of two things:
- That your questions are direct
- That the way in which you ask the questions doesn't corner the prospects
First off, your goal as a salesperson is to get to the bottom of your prospect’s problems. And, the only way to do that is by asking specific, direct questions.
If there is a question that you absolutely need to know the answer to, then ask it! At the end of the day, as long as your intentions are to help the prospect, then it’s okay to be direct.
When you go to the doctor and are feeling sick, don’t they ask you very specific questions about your symptoms in order to get to the root cause? In sales, you need to be just like the doctor diagnosing the patient!
Second, while you should ask direct questions, you should ask them in a way that comforts the prospects. When you are talking about somebody’s problems, it is only natural that they feel slightly uncomfortable opening up.
Therefore, the key is to use a tone of voice and have body language that reassures the prospect that you are asking because you care!
Using direct methodology is how you get direct answers from business-to-business prospects.
If you want to best serve your prospects, then you need direct answers in order to know exactly what their biggest pain points are AND how you can help them!
4. Use the Mirroring Tactic
What if there was a way to get answers to important questions without actually having to ask the important questions? Well, the truth is that there is a way!
Sounds strange, but want in?
Here's how: The mirroring tactic is a full-proof method to draw information out of your prospect without you ever even having to ask them for it!
Here is how it works:
- You ask the prospect a direct question about their pain points
- The prospect responds
- You repeat back (mirror) to them the last few words that they said, but in a question format
Here's an example of how it works:
Sales rep: So, why would one of your own prospects choose you over your competitors?
Prospect: Well, unlike our competitors, we pride ourselves on providing the absolute best customer service. For us, we measure customer success based on how well we serve the customers.
Sales rep: Based on how well you serve the customers?
Prospect: Yes, by that we mean that we want to make them feel as good as possible in the least amount of time.
See how the prospect gave up additional information about themselves after you mirrored their initial response? Had you not mirrored them, then you probably wouldn't have gotten that critical information out of them!
The idea behind the mirroring tactic is that, when you mirror one of the prospect’s responses, they will give up deeper information that otherwise would have been skimmed over.
5. Always Ask Follow-Up Questions
Last but not least, after a prospect answers one of your questions, always, ALWAYS ask a follow-up question.
Here's the thing: B2B buyers are layered people, just like you and I. Therefore, when they give you an initial answer to a question, they're most likely not giving you the whole answer.
With that said, take things one step further by asking them deeper follow-up questions. By doing so, you will help uncover additional layers of the prospective buyer.
For example, ask one question, mirror their response, and then ask a follow-up after they respond a second time.
The idea is to get as deep into the prospect's problems as possible. The deeper you get, the better chance you stand at knowing how to solve their problems!
The Bottom Line: Getting Back In Control of the B2B Sales Process
If you feel like your sales process is out of control, know that you don’t have to keep feeling that way.
What is more reassuring is that the way to gain back control is through a very simple solution: Asking the right questions to your prospects.
Remember, knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have about your B2B prospects, then the more power you have. The more power you have, the more in control you will feel!
In the end, when you control the sales process, you become the absolute best salesperson, because you are better able to address your prospect’s pain points and close out more deals for yourself!