The Ultimate Guide to Filling your Sales Pipeline: Sell More by Talking Less

Sales Beacon has had the pleasure of working with some of the best sales people on the planet in some of the largest enterprise sales pursuits for over a decade. We’ve also seen why they struggle. This series encapsulates what we’ve learned.

The more problems you can find, the bigger your pipeline will be and the more sales you’re going to make.

Selling is not telling; selling is asking questions. Fifty years ago, the biggest sales problem was that sellers didn’t understand their client’s needs. Incredibly, it’s still the biggest problem today! Not listening to the buyer’s goals sellers will cause long sales cycles and lots of price objections.

It sounds simple: ask questions to discover the needs of the client. So why are so few salespeople doing it? Here are some of the reasons:

  • They’re given too much product training and aren’t taught the best questions to ask.
  • Sales managers don’t know how to teach it and they don’t drive accountability for it.
  • CEO’s fail to hold their sales managers accountable for this lack of accountability.
  • Sales Enablement pros aren’t trained to teach this either.
  • Channel leaders are more concerned with new products than with teaching skills.

Powerful open ended questions are the only type of questions that get prospects and customers talking about their struggles. 99% of the sales you make solve other people’s problems. 

The more problems you can find, the bigger your pipeline will be and the more sales you’re going to make.

Struggling to fill pipeline? What makes a question one that make a prospect think “they understood my needs”? Ones with words that describe the enormity of a problem. You can find these online, but here’s a list of our favorites:

  • Difficulty
  • Headache
  • Issue
  • Struggle
  • Challenge
  • Worry
  • Concern
  • Complaint
  • Problem

Each question you ask of your client needs to include one of these words. These get to the heart of their company’s needs, what keeps people up at night, what they are trying to solve. Fill those needs and you’ve got yourself a sale. Use questions to discover value and watch your pipeline grow fast, and you'll start to sell more. They’re simple, easy to learn and practical. HubSpot recently published a list of great probing questions.

Not listening to the buyer’s goals sellers will cause long sales cycles and lots of price objections.

You need to create a list of questions for your sales team, train them, reinforce them and make them a key part of every sales playbook. Giving sellers a proven structured framework for their discovery meetings will work wonders. They can modify the questions to suit their own personality, values and communication styles. Hold sales managers accountable for driving this behavior.

Contact us at info@salespaas.ca if you want to find out more about what we’ve discovered about how to make sales more effective. We’d love to hear from you.