Although no single rule governs which questions are most effective for generating leads, your approach could make or break the success of your outbound campaign. It's not simply a matter of divining the right questions, but investing in a process that works. In order to produce the results you're hoping for, you should:
Be clear on your objective
Know your prospects
Develop a rapport that establishes trust
Showcase your solution
Build an ongoing relationship (i.e., another call or contact point)
Let's look at each individually.
Be Clear on Your Objective
Is your goal to create awareness about your product or service? Identify a current or future need? Distinguish the decision makers within an organization? Or schedule a sales appointment? If you're clear on your objective you'll also be clear when you're producing the desired returns. And, you'll have the perspective to end calls that aren't likely to achieve the targeted outcome. This will allow you to focus the bulk of your time and attention on the calls that are most likely to get results.
Learn About Your Prospect's Needs
The window of opportunity to engage your prospect once you're in front of (or on the phone with) them may be shorter than you think. Some studies suggest you have as few as six seconds (or less!) to generate enough interest to continue the conversation (and make it meaningful). In order to make the most of those first precious seconds, start by doing your research. Before picking up the phone, you should have a pretty good idea of who your target is and what value proposition your company brings to the equation. The more you know about your prospect before that first "hello," the better prepared you'll be to engage with them in a meaningful way.
Develop a Rapport that Establishes Trust
Regardless of the industry, you need to grab your prospect’s attention and start a conversation. You'll need to ask questions that move your prospect to describe their needs and pain points. By getting your prospect to do most of the initial talking, you're building trust and learning valuable information. Some tips at this stage include:
Use the knowledge you’ve gained in your preparation to target a business need your product or service can help to resolve.
Focus your time on the need; you’ll establish rapport and credibility through listening and actively understanding the problem first. There will be time to talk solutions later.
Try not to use a set script - use open-ended questions and let one question lead to the next. However, an outline can help you stay focused.
Remember to be relaxed, professional and engaging. When you ask the right questions about a prospect’s business, you build trust. You also gain valuable insights on how your product or service can solve business problems.
Showcase Your Solution
At this point in your conversation you should have a pretty clear understanding of the prospect's problem and how your product or service will solve their need. Align your solution's selling points directly with the prospect’s expressed pain points. Don’t tell your prospects why your solution is a good fit - lead them there. You'll know you're on the right track if your prospect asks questions.
Remember to tie the solution back to your objective. For example, if your objective is an onsite visit, you can wrap up the call by saying, “Our next step is an onsite visit - are you open any time next week?”
Build an Ongoing Relationship
In the end, the best lead generation questions will inspire an ongoing relationship. Although there are processes and best practices that work, building relationships with prospects is like building relationships in other areas of your life.
Be genuine: If you're calling on behalf of a product or service, you undoubtedly believe in its ability to make a positive difference. Let your enthusiasm show. Helping a customer solve a problem can be a very different conversation than selling a product or service. Investing time to offer a solution will encourage an ongoing relationship in a way traditional "selling" may miss the mark.
Listen: In order to know what to say and when to say it, you need to really understand your prospect’s needs and experiences. The only way to get there is to listen carefully.
Don't be afraid to ask twice: Most customers today have interacted with a brand multiple times before ever making a commitment to purchase. You need to be willing to repeat your ask for a good prospect, all while respecting their time. In other words, nurture an ongoing relationship.
Asking good questions can make or break your campaign. The path to asking good questions includes:
Setting measurable goals so you know your questions are in fact working for you.
Researching your prospects thoroughly to understand their needs, and knowing which questions are most likely to resonate with them.
Using active listening, and revising or restating questions on the fly, in order to better understand and engage your prospect.
Presenting your questions with confidence and openness to encourage trust and build a rapport.
Being ready to repeat the question or the process.
Targeted contact research and primary market research
Lead nurturing and inside sales support
Script and survey writing
Consulting and training
Acadia also provides lead generation and prospect engagement across all contact channels through our trade marked Omnibound™ demand generation program. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.