Planning ahead means developing smart questions that will help you uncover a prospect’s most important needs. Open ended questions start with Who, What, Where, Why, How and When. Try to keep your questions brief, as long ones often result in short answers, whereas short questions such as, “What prompted you to visit today?” can result in long, detailed answers that reveal a great deal of important information about the visitor’s situation.
Preparing for Discovery
Every sales counselor with whom Retirement DYNAMICS has worked believes he or she prepares for phone calls and face-to-face presentations. In reality, the preparation often witnessed is not the right kind of preparation. Real preparation involves more than glancing at your appointment calendar, or the contact screen on your computer for the prospect’s name and address. It means applying another “80/20 Rule:” set aside a small amount of undisturbed time prior to the appointment to sit down, review all previous prospect activity, and write a list of questions that apply specifically to this particular client as part of your overall prospect strategic plan. This will help you to avoid spending 80% of your time after the appointment pursuing the prospect on the telephone to ask the questions you should have asked during the visit. Without this exercise sales counselors only think they are asking questions and ultimately end up “winging it” during the presentation. Just 20% of the right effort up front avoids 80% of the wrong effort later.
Question by Categories
To build a list of possible questions, think about grouping questions into categories that will help you uncover important information about your prospect including, “Getting to know you,” “Current living situation,” “Needs and/or issues,” “Personal issues,” “Competitors,” “ Money,” “Time frame,” and “Other People Involved in the Decision.” Within each category build a list that assists you in enhancing your knowledge of their situation. This will ultimately lead you to a clear path of how to present your community as the right solution for each individual client. As you gain experience asking questions, employ another “80/20 Rule”: refine your “best questions” list, keeping the ones that work and scratching off the ones that flop, remembering that the goal is to ask 20 of the right questions that move the process forward rather than asking 80 of the ones that do nothing. By simply preparing and improving your questions, you can effect dramatic results in the number of sales and move-ins you achieve.
Thanks to Patti Hutton, Senior Consultant for Retirement DYNAMICS for the contribution to this week’s blog.
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