Five Questions You Need to Ask to Get Better at Client Prospecting

cartoon question marks floating near an outstretched hand

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Engaging your ideal audience can be harder than you think… Sometimes even finding them is difficult. Asking good client prospecting questions can make the difference between success and failure.

Are you sure you’re doing it right?

Some companies have a bad habit of getting lazy after they reach success. They stop looking for new customers and just rely on the ones they already have. Then, of course, if anything in the market changes… They’re in deep trouble. 

Hopefully, this will never be you… But you shouldn’t stop client prospecting, even if you already have tons of customers. If you want to achieve stability and create a strong foundation for future growth, you need to keep new customers coming in.

First, you need the right approach to your ideal market.

Here’s an example: a Fortune 100 financial services company was looking to expand its market. They wanted to find richer clients with more money to invest, so they changed their client prospecting methods.

Using the right digital media solutions, they found their proper audience. They secured a 14% increase in account contribution and a 23% increase in high-value accounts. They also got a 37% contribution increase from new accounts that had received their messaging.

These results are impressive for a simple change in tactic.

What was that tactic?

They just changed their prospecting questions. This allowed the Fortune 100 company to identify and reach their ideal clients with more clarity.  

If you want the same type of results, you might need to rethink your client prospecting questions. How well do you communicate with your prospects? 

The questions you ask can transform how you establish rapport with your audience. They can help you figure out their pain points and priorities.

Asking the right questions will help you determine if prospects are right for you (and if you are right for them).

Question #1 – What Are Their Biggest Pain Points?

Your first question should focus on your audience’s pain points. Isaac Howell advocates using straightforward and effective wording, such as:

“What are some of the pain points that affect your day-to-day job functions?”

Prospecting questions don’t get any simpler than that.

And it’s critical to ask this question before you move into sales questions… 

To know your prospects, you need to know their pain points. During the initial conversation, most prospects aren’t looking to become clients. They don’t want a pitch. They want to know that someone will finally listen and understand their problems.

If you let your prospects do most of the talking initially, they’ll see you as more trustworthy. It also enables you to categorize them. Once you know what they’re struggling with, you can more easily tell whether or not they’ll be a good fit as clients.

Question #2 – What Is The Competition Doing?

Most businesses have a clear list of competitors in their field, so you should always ask about the companies on this list.

In client prospecting, it’s important to know as much as you can about your audience, including those in a position to steal business from them.

Ask your prospects about their competitors, and if these companies use similar services and solutions.

During this part of the conversation, you can talk about the services you provide. Ask them how many of their competitors got ahead by using similar services. This should generate more interest in your offering and keep prospects engaged when you make your sales pitch.

But that’s not all…

You also need to know the latest trends that are shaping your prospects’ industry. Once you know what their competition is doing, you can come up with new solutions. Of course, the new approach you offer has to be better than the old ones already out there.

Question #3 – What Are Their Business Priorities for the Year Ahead?

Next, it’s a good idea to focus on your prospects’ future. By now, you know what ails them and what methods others use to fix similar issues. Now it’s time to talk about their immediate business priorities.

Ask your prospects about their goals for the future. If they don’t have much marketing experience, you can start with their overarching goals. Here’s a question that always works:

“What are your most important goals for this year?”

This conversation accomplishes several things. First, it shifts the discussion towards goals and aspirations. Second, it allows you to talk about how they can measure and achieve success.

Last, it puts you and your prospect on the same page. It helps you determine if your prospect is a good fit with your business, and if you can provide the service they need.

Not all your prospects want to focus on the same thing. Some may need an increase in sales, others may want increased traffic or better lead generation for the next quarter…

Mapping out priorities helps you create a plan of attack and understand what issues need your immediate attention.

Question #4 – Why Do They Want to Solve the Problem Right Now?

It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. How urgent is your prospect’s problem? Do they need it fixed right now? How significant is your prospect’s pain and how much is it affecting the business?

If the issue requires immediate attention, then your prospect is more likely to make a quick decision… One that could lead to a conversion.

Some business owners know they have to fix things in their company, but they may not always see the urgency for taking action. If you ask questions like, “Why do you need to make changes now?” you can better understand your prospects’ pain level.

Question #5 – What Have They Done in the Past?

Client prospecting is most successful when you personalize the experience. Don’t ask generic sales questions. Shift the focus towards your prospects instead of yourself. For instance, it’s a good idea to ask about any previous or current solutions. 

What methods did they use to fix their pain points in the past? How well did those methods work?

The answers to these questions should give you an overview of what your prospects might be willing to try. You’ll also learn more about their situation, and this means you can position yourself better when it comes time to make a pitch.

And, of course, you can find out what you shouldn’t offer too.

Don’t Be Afraid of Conversation

No matter how good you think you are at client prospecting, it’s easy to jump the gun and start with sales questions when you should be asking the right questions.

If you don’t establish a line of open communication, you can’t understand your audience’s needs. The more you allow your prospect to do the talking, the more you learn, and this makes it easier to position yourself as the ideal solution for their pain points.

If you need more help in this area, we are here for you! Sign up for free business coaching lessons to improve your prospecting methods and conversational style to grow your business.

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