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Inside Sales, Scripts & Cold Call Techniques from Michael Pedone

How to Improve Your PRESENTATION to CLOSE Ratio w/One Sales Question

by MichaelPedone 14. May 2013 09:34

Sales Question:

"We’ve seen an increase in new inbound (warm) leads recently and the number of our presentations are up but our closing ratios are not. Any advice?"


There could be lots of reasons for this however when it comes to handling warm leads, one must be careful to not assume that the prospect is ready for a solution. Many inbound leads could be from “information gatherers” disguised as decision makers.

And no matter if you are speaking with an information gatherer or the actual decision maker, a very important fact needs to be uncovered prior to giving a presentation and that is:

Have they made the decision to purchase and are looking for the best solution or…
Are they investigating to see what solutions are out there in order to determine if the problem is worth solving?


The difference is this: one is already closed on wanting a solution and the other is not.

A prospect that has already made the decision to make a purchase and is in the research stage of which solution to purchase needs to be handled very differently than a prospect that has an interest in what it is that you have to offer but has yet to decide if they should make a switch to begin with.

Ever give a stellar presentation that the prospect loves and totally agrees with you that your solution would be the best choice, only to not have them buy from anyone, including your competitors?

In most cases, it’s because they haven’t yet made the decision to solve the original problem. And that’s a problem for you if it goes unchecked.

If a prospect has made the decision to find a solution and they are simply looking for the best one, we ask questions that will uncover what their ideal solution looks like to them and why (so we know how to custom target our presentation)

If they are simply in the investigative mode, we ask questions that uncover the motivation behind looking into possible solutions to begin with as well as the pros and cons for solving it (because we first need them “closed” on wanting a solution before we can close them on selecting our solution, make sense?)

I suspect however that a 3rd option might be at play here as well and that is, neither of these type of sales questions are being asked but rather, a warm lead comes in and an assumption is made that they are ready to buy and a “data dump” canned presentation is done without identifying where the prospects position is or what’s important to them.

So How Do I Know Where They Are In the Sales Process?

Try customizing the following sales question to your specific industry:

“Mr. Prospect, have you definitely made the decision to replace your current accounting software program and are simply looking for which solution would best fit your needs or are you still investigating whether or not you should make a switch in the first place?”

Really only two choices available from the prospect:

Choice 1: "Yes we definitely know we want a new solution, we just need to find out which one would be best for our needs" (and look at that… the perfect segue into asking sales questions that will identify what matters most to them)


Choice 2: "No, we haven’t yet decided if we should make a switch, we are just in research mode right now" (and now you can ask questions that will uncover some of the reasons why they are looking for a potential new solution and uncover their thought process of why they should keep the current solution in order to help determine if a new solution would be the right choice. And if it is, well, you’ll know what to do next)

Hope this helps.

Michael Pedone
CSS: Chief Sales Scientist (A 2011 Sales Training Company Watch List Award Winner & 2013 SellingPower Top Sales Training Company Contender)
888-264-0562 ext. 1

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