Sales conversation design

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Overview

The sales conversation with (future) clients/customers shouldn’t be a spontaneous exchange but a well-prepared conversation. Many sales frameworks have been developed, but it doesn’t really matter which one you decide to use (as long as you use one). Most sales frameworks build on the “questioning” theme which encourages sales professionals to ask questions instead of telling clients things. Depending on the situation other sales approaches could also be useful, for example, the “storytelling” approach.

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Form structure

Conversation parameters section

  • What are your goals for the client conversation?
  • What is your preferred format (remote, on-site) to talk to prospects?
  • What’s s your organization’s story?
  • What are the key differentiators of your organization?
  • How do you assess prospects?
  • What’s the ideal conversation type?
  • What’s the ideal conversation duration?
  • What’s the ideal conversation place?
  • What are the ideal conversation participants?
  • What is a possible conversation supporting media?

Question-based selling section

  • What are possible educational question?
  • What are possible lock-on questions?
  • What are possible impact questions?
  • What are possible expansion questions?
  • What are possible comparison questions?
  • What are possible vision questions?

Quick questions section

What are your comments about the following questions?

  • What do you do for a living?
  • How did you get into that?
  • How’s business life?
  • What are your goals for the next time?
  • What are you working on right now?
  • What are you most concerned about?
  • Why’s that important for you personally?
  • What’s holding you back?
  • Would you like some help with that?
  • Who can I connect you with to help you?
  • What other quick questions come to your mind?

Basic questions section

  • How do you get the job done today?
  • What products/services/tricks do you use to get the job done?
  • What else should I have asked you about getting the job done?
  • What other basic questions come to your mind?

Add-on question section

What are your comments about the following questions?

  • Can you tell me more about how that process goes?
  • Who’s involved in making that decision?
  • Last time you did ___, how long did it take?
  • Where did you most recently go to buy ___?
  • May I ask, why did you come to that conclusion?
  • What other add-on questions come to your mind?

Open questions section

What are your comments about the following questions?

  • What’s the challenge to get the job done?
  • Why does this happen?
  • Who’s involved to get the job done?
  • Where does this job have to get done?
  • When does this job have to get done?
  • How long does this job need to get done?
  • What consequences result from this job and its challenges?
  • What other open questions come to your mind?

Challenge questions section

What are your comments about the following questions?

  • What’s your current challenge?
  • How did you try to solve your current challenge?
  • What are the solutions you tried out before?
  • Who are your current suppliers?
  • Who are the stakeholders involved in this challenge?
  • What are your thoughts on our solution to solve your challenge?
  • What are your ideas for the next steps?
  • What other challenge questions come to your mind?

Proposition complexity questions section

What are your comments about the following questions?

  • What are elements making the current solution hard to use?
  • What are elements making the solution not useful enough?
  • What are elements making the solution big and unmanageable?
  • What makes the solution aesthetically ugly?
  • What are the elements making the solution hard to purchase?
  • What are elements with too low quality?
  • What are your additional customization needs?
  • What other proposition complexity questions come to your mind?

Price complexity questions section

What are your comments about the following questions?

  • What are features you don’t use?
  • What’s unnecessary variety?
  • What are you missing from the current solutions?
  • What are unnecessary manual steps?
  • What are orchestration challenges?
  • What could you do on your own?
  • Who are unnecessary intermediaries?
  • What are complex technologies used?
  • What other price complexity questions come to your mind?

Pricing questions section

What are your comments about the following questions?

  • What do you think about the pricing of your current solution?
  • What do you think about the pricing of alternative solutions?
  • How do you calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO)?
  • How do you calculate the value for the business?
  • How do you calculate the return on investment (ROI)?
  • How do you try to lower the costs?
  • How do you search for more cost-efficient alternatives?
  • What other pricing questions come to your mind?

Market questions section

What are your comments about the following questions?

  • What are your thoughts about the state of the market?
  • What are the last important developments for you?
  • What are your expectations about incumbent solutions?
  • What are your expectations about customers?
  • What are your expectations about suppliers?
  • What are your expectations about new entrants?
  • What are your expectations about substitutes?
  • What other market questions come to your mind?

Pitch overview section

  • Which solution are you referring to?
  • Which solution pitch are you specifying?

Problem section

  • What are your customers’ job to be done?
  • What are the primary outcomes of the job to be done?
  • What’s the challenge to get the job done?
  • What are existing solutions to get the job done?
  • What are the challenges of the existing solutions?

Environmental challenges section

  • What are your customers’ regulatory challenges?
  • What are your customers’ competitive challenges?
  • What are your customers’ cultural challenges?
  • What are your customers’ process challenges?
  • What are your customers’ technology challenges?

Existing solutions overview section

  • What are existing physical product solutions?
  • What are existing intangible service solutions?
  • What are existing content solutions?
  • What are existing software solutions?
  • What are existing platform solutions?
  • What are the interactions between existing solutions?
  • What’s the most relevant existing solution?

Detailed existing solution section

  • Which solution are you referring to?
  • What’s the selection experience?
  • What’s the purchase experience?
  • What’s the usage experience?
  • What’s the implementation/adoption experience?
  • What’s the adaptation experience?
  • What’s the necessary customer environment integration?
  • How do customers recommend this solution to other potential customers?
  • What’s the replacement experience?
  • What’s the complex variety?
  • What are expensive benefits?
  • What are manual processes/steps?
  • What are orchestration challenges?
  • What are sales intermediaries?
  • What are complex technology components?
  • What are other features overshooting the customer demands?

Existing solutions failures section

  • Which solution are you referring to?
  • What’s the value proposition failure?
  • What’s the price failure?
  • What’s the complexity failure?
  • What’s the customer/supplier misfit failure?
  • What’s the functionality failure?

Non-consumption reasons section

  • What are "no skills" reasons for non-consumption?
  • What are "no money" reasons for non-consumption?
  • What are "no access" reasons for non-consumption?
  • What are "no time" reasons for non-consumption?

Solution section

  • What’s the vision for the client?
  • What’s the mission of the client?
  • What’s the time frame to fix the challenge?
  • What’s the clear signal of the job done effectively, efficiently, sustainably?
  • What’s the solution?
  • What’s the main differentiation?
  • What’s the physical product component?
  • What’s the intangible service component?
  • What’s the content component?
  • What’s the software component?
  • What’s the platform component?
  • What’s the purchasing process?
  • What’s the use case?
  • How does the solution incorporate the customer organization?
  • What’s the usage process?
  • What’s the internal operating model?

Value proposition section

  • Value proposition: What’s the "commodity" value of the solution?
  • Consulting basics: What’s the ability to get the job done?
  • Consulting basics: What’s the simplicity for the client?
  • Consulting basics: What’s the price proposition?
  • Value proposition: What are operational improvements?
  • Value proposition: What’s the change from external sourcing to do-it-yourself?
  • Value proposition: What’s the change from do-it-yourself to external sourcing?
  • Value proposition: What are time savings?
  • Value proposition: What are money savings?
  • Value proposition: What’s the client learning?
  • Value proposition: What are social gains (e.g. community building)?
  • Non-consumption: How do you solve the “no skills” reasons for non-consumption?
  • Non-consumption: How do you solve the “no money” reasons for non-consumption?
  • Non-consumption: How do you solve the “no access” reasons for non-consumption?
  • Non-consumption: How do you solve the “no time” reasons for non-consumption?
  • Proposition simplification: How do you simplify the handling (ease to use)?
  • Proposition simplification: How do you simplify the purchasing process?
  • Proposition simplification: What’s the quality increase?
  • Proposition simplification: What are added customization options?
  • Price simplification: What are features to subtract?
  • Price simplification: What’s the variety reduction?
  • Price simplification: What are added cheap benefits?
  • Price simplification: What’s the automation approach?
  • Price simplification: What’s the orchestration approach?
  • Price simplification: What’s the approach to customer co-option?
  • Price simplification: What’s the approach to direct selling?
  • Price simplification: What’s the approach to simplifying technology?
  • Price simplification: What’s the approach to international scale-up?

Client vision section

  • What’s the client's market/industry state in 1 year?
  • What’s the client's market/industry state in 3 years?
  • What’s the client's market/industry state in 5 years?
  • What’s the client's market/industry state in 10 years?
  • What’s the overall client state in 1 year?
  • What’s the overall client state in 3 years?
  • What’s the overall client state in 5 years?
  • What’s the overall client state in 10 years?
  • What’s the client's business model state in 1 year?
  • What’s the client's business model state in 3 years?
  • What’s the client's business model state in 5 years?
  • What’s the client's business model state in 10 years?
  • What’s the client's operating model state in 1 year?
  • What’s the client's operating model state in 3 years?
  • What’s the client's operating model state in 5 years?
  • What’s the client's operating model state in 10 years?
  • What’s the client's technology state in 1 year?
  • What’s the client's technology state in 3 years?
  • What’s the client's technology state in 5 years?
  • What’s the client's technology state in 10 years?

Financial offering section

  • What’s possible solution #1?
  • What’s possible solution #2?
  • What’s possible solution #3?

Engagement success metrics section

  • What are the contract closing metrics?
  • What are the team onboarding metrics?
  • What are the elicitation/analysis metrics?
  • What are the solution design metrics?
  • What are the solution development metrics?
  • What are the solution implementation metrics?
  • What are the client learning metrics?
  • What are the consensus and commitment building (i.e. stakeholder alignment) metrics?
  • What are the trusted advice metrics?

Storytelling section

  • Which story are you describing?
  • Which kind of story do you want to describe?
  • What’s the story to tell?
  • What’s delivery format?
  • What’s the story length?
  • What’s the approach to truth?
  • What’s the hook?
  • What’s the context?
  • What’s the challenge?
  • What’s the solution?
  • What’s the lesson?
  • What’s the action?
  • What’s the emotion?
  • What’s the surprise?
  • What’s the data to support the story?
  • What’s the approach to practice telling the story?