Having the right questions about your prospecting emails is one of the most powerful tools salespeople can use. By asking questions, your prospecting emails go from being an uninteresting pitch to an engaging two-way conversation, telling your prospect what you think they will be interested in.
When you're not careful, the wrong question can end the conversation before it even begins. Too often, I see salespeople using questions that can be answered in one word.
Is there anything you'd like to know more about?”
Are you interested in scheduling a meeting to discuss this further?”
“Are you ready to sign up?”?”
This type of question does not engage a prospect, even if the answer is yes. It is simple and can be answered with little thought. That is why I encourage salespeople to use open-ended questions in their emails. When you ask your prospect questions they can't answer with a quick yes/no, you make them think about their situation more deeply.
The first step is to switch closed-ended questions to open-ended ones. However, to get the best results, you should choose your open-ended questions carefully.
You are more likely to get immediate answers to your questions with a prospecting phone call than with an email. In addition to asking rapport-building questions (“So, what are you doing this weekend?”), you can ask a series of questions throughout the call, adapting your pitch as the answers come in.
With emails, the best practice is to limit it to just one question at the end. Asking too many questions will likely result in them not answering any of them. The best thing to do is to use that one question to get their weekend plans. In the same vein, it's a good idea to stay away from pointless rhetorical questions, such as those that are 'sales' or guilt-tripping' and will make prospects roll their eyes.
If you want your prospect to consider your open-ended question, make it relevant and meaningful, so that it encourages them to think about it and provides you with details you can use in future email correspondence. Nonetheless, your questions shouldn't be so deep that they require too much time and brainpower to answer. If it seems too hard for them to answer, they won't.
I've put together a list of effective open-ended questions you can use in your next prospecting email based on these principles. You can use this list as inspiration, a pick-and-mix of ideas you can use to try. Browse through them, pick out what works for your prospect and your service, and then try it out!
When talking to prospects, you want to address their pain points, so you must first know what those pain points are. Problems are powerful motivators. All of us have them. You can make your entire pitch irrelevant if you assume you know what's troubling your prospect without confirming it.
When you ask an open-ended question to find out more about their problems and challenges, it changes the dynamic completely. Rather than focusing on your product and its features, you're talking to them about a problem they care about. Providing an understanding of their problem, along with an implicit promise of help, will get your prospect's attention.
Changing some things can be a bit scary. We all have our comfort zones, and leaving them can be painful. Perhaps it isn't what we want, but it is what we know, and it is what we are used to.
We can't help prospective customers if we don't understand the difficulty of change. By asking these questions, you will gain an understanding of the obstacles they'll face, as well as what's keeping them from making change.
Regardless of the product or service you're selling, your emails should always be focused on your prospects. This means knowing more about them than about you.
In order to solve problems, you need to be empathic. You need to know about their companies, their thoughts, their processes, as well as the problem. Before reaching out to a prospect, you should always do your research. Even though a database can provide some information, it cannot provide all the information you need. In addition, these questions can help prospects think about their current processes and results.
It has been discussed how to find out more about prospects and their problems, but you must ultimately demonstrate how you can solve these problems. In addition, they demonstrate to the prospect that you are the ideal company to provide that solution by revealing the information that you need to deliver a solution that fits their needs.
You can engage with your prospects more effectively by asking them open-ended questions in your emails. If you ask them wisely, you will be able to understand their mindset, how they deal with change, and how you can help.