How to Close the Deal: Asking the Right Questions to Win More New Business

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“Reach out,” they said…”It will be fun,” they said. Reaching out to a prospect can be fun if you are able to turn that outreach into a new business win. However, being able to do this typically comes down to two things: defining the right opportunity and asking the right questions to seamlessly close the deal.

So how do you do it?

Sharon Napier, CEO of Partners + Napier, recently hosted a webinar with us and discussed this in detail. According to Sharon, it all begins with being able to identify the RIGHT opportunity, while also focusing on business you can actually win. Successful new business professionals are able to identify these opportunities by asking really good questions, allowing them to build relationships early on and uncover key insights to help them close the deal later.

According to our research, which you’ll see below, during a four month period 7% of people will exit their current company. So, if you’re already wasting too many hours hunting down qualified prospects, imagine repeating that awful cycle every four months.

Start off by asking engaging questions to understand your prospect’s fit and value. Questions like:

    • “What are you seeking to change about your current agency relationships?”
    • “Where do you want to see your brand/business in the next year? The next three years?”
    • “What is your anticipated budget for this initiative?”

This set of questions get prospects talking about their brand in a new and refreshing way. Not only does this give you a better idea of what they’re looking for, but it allows the prospect to really think about what hasn’t worked for them and why they may need something different.

When it comes to budget, getting them to share this information is critical because it will allow you to provide realistic expectations from the start. This also allows you to understand why relationships may not have worked in the past - if a brand has a very low budget for an outsourced service, this could explain why the brand isn’t happy with work their current partner/vendor/agency is providing. Uncovering their needs will allow you to provide a tailored solution that is the right fit for your prospect's need and budget, while highlighting the value you provide.

This leads to the next step, which is ask questions to better understand what your prospect wants. These include questions such as:

    • “What are the top three things you are looking for in a partner like us?”
    • “How would you want us to behave as a partner?”

Not only does this set up the prospects expectations of you from day one, but it also allows you to understand the needs of your prospect and establish if you are the right fit, and then, if you are, explicitly define your capabilities and your offerings. It might be tempting to cater your services based on all your prospects’ needs, but this is a slippery slope that may result in a client that you can’t satisfy long term. Make sure you clearly define your offerings to avoid this.

Finally, once you have established that this piece of business is right for both you and the prospect, it’s important to establish your odds of actually winning the business. You can do that by asking questions such as:

    • “What does the competitive field look like?”
    • “How many vendors/companies/agencies have you worked with before?”
    • “Does anything stand out as a disadvantage?”

These questions are not only crucial to understanding where you stand in the process, but it also allows you to address hesitations, clarify any concerns and understand the prospect’s criteria for selecting a product or partner. It’s also important to do research ahead of time. Use specific examples for asking why something you do may come across as a disadvantage to your prospect.  

Aside from winning new business, why is asking the right questions important to the selling process? Well, it allows you to invest your time wisely in the right opportunities to increase your closing odds. By increasing your time with the RIGHT opportunities, ultimately decreases your time with the WRONG opportunities, allowing you to focus on the relationships that are worth investing in further. It also allows you to qualify prospects faster, uncover timely opportunities, and invest in building valuable relationships with the opportunities that may need more nurturing to exponentially increase your firm’s odds of closing more new business, faster.

Now that you know the right questions to ask, make sure you're asking the right person. Find decision maker emails, direct dials and more with Winmo!

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Written by: Zoe Blutstein

Zoe has been with List Partners Inc. for almost two years. In her latest Content Marketing role, Zoe continues her mission to create content to help drive new business opportunities for clients and readers alike.

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