So, you’re at the start of the sales funnel. And a prospect has been prequalified, and it’s time to make the first call. Most bank sales people take one large gulp of air and then smother the prospect until the end of the call with how good, fast, easy, reliable, inexpensive, and reputable their bank’s services are.
Although you’ve alluded to value throughout your monologue, it has yet to be proven.
This is what is called a level-one investigation. Yes, you’ve told them everything you have to offer but have they really listened? Why would they?
So far, you’ve just talked about yourself.
Their needs, wants, and concerns have yet to be addressed. In fact, they may not even be aware of their own needs and wants…because they don’t wake up every morning wondering how their bank could better service them.
If you want them to listen, you must find the pain they have as a result of not being your customer.
There’s only one problem —they see you as an interruption and as someone just trying to “sell” your stuff. So, their first few answers to the questions you ask will probably be… not completely forthright. They are more interested in having you go away so they can get back to work.
It is your job to immediately uncover the pain. Ask a “powerful pain question,” then begin drilling it down. Their real answer or desire won’t be revealed with one question, and probably not with two.
Edwards Deming taught this during the quality transformation years —it’s with this third level of questioning that you have dug deep enough to get to their real pain. This is where you get a real answer.
Open-ended questions work best. Who, what, when, where, or how can be used to lead them in the right direction. Notice that “why” is missing from the familiar sequence, and for very good reason. It tends to put people on the defensive. A recent study showed that the more dysfunctional a home the person came from, the more defensive they are with a “why” question.
An OPEN line of communication is necessary in the process of uncovering and easing their pain.
An example will help illustrate how effective this line of questioning is:
Scenario #1: You have a lead on a small manufacturer who you hear is adding a new product line and is in need of additional financing.
Here’s the set up: “I’m not sure we can add any value for you, and if we can’t, I’ll get out of here soon and not waste your time. Let me ask you a few quick questions and you can ask a few quick questions, and within 10 minutes we’ll both decide if it makes sense for us to continue talking.” (You always want to be a bit negative about the chance of you doing business together—this drops their defenses.)
So here’s a question: “When your current bank sits down with you and has that yearly ‘opportunity’ meeting where they look over your financials, compare you to the other manufacturers, and suggest areas where you can take advantage of opportunities that would bring you some cost savings, improve revenue…what kind of experiences have you had, and what kind of results have you had as a result of those meetings?”
Your first pain question is powerfully constructed to take advantage of your unique selling proposition you have that you know that their current provider doesn’t provide.
So your prospects answers, “I don’t think we have a meeting like that.”
If you end there, you haven’t really got them to experience enough pain to change.
So now, Level 2: “I must not have made myself clear. You know, that meeting that happens each year where your banker sits down with you and tries to add value to your business. They look for ways to reduce expenses or increase revenue based on research from national firms that are similar to yours.”
Answer 2: “Well, I don’t think we’ve ever done that.”
Now, Question 3: “Well, I wonder if that would help you. Most businesses find that they are not nearly as efficient as they want to be, and with a few small changes they were able to increase revenue by 20 percent with virtually no extra effort and to reduce expenses by about 10 percent without noticing any difference in other outcomes. If you were to find those opportunities, what would that do for your bottom line?”
The answer: “Gosh. That could mean about $70,000 more to the bottom line. Could you help me with that?”
Notice that as you continue to ask questions, the emotion builds. By the third question, they realize that they have a stake in it. The truth IS at level 3.
Prospects will ONLY change buying behavior if they are emotionally involved. Get them charged up and they will be looking for some ways that they can fix this wrong. Now, it is time for you to become the hero and save them.
And if you haven’t discovered a pain with the third question, there isn’t a problem large enough to be worthy of a solution.
Then, simply move on to a different pain-uncovering question and work that one down to the third level. If you don’t find pain after several questions, be honest with yourself. You don’t have a prospect. Move on to a prospect that needs your help. The sooner you can cut bait on the painless prospect, the sooner you can stop wasting your time and resources.
For a quick, 60-minute complimentary coaching session where we’ll help you identify three things you can do right away that will make it easier for you to get the intention of a customer who is happy with their current bank, to pay attention to you, click this link or call our office at 952-737-6730. The reason we make that offer is that is we know a percentage of the people who take advantage of that then attend one of our events or become one of our performance culture clients.
Again, click on the link or call our office at 952-737-6730.