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By Hamish Knox

As the leader of a sales team the two best ways to develop your people are role play and debriefing prospect meetings.
By creating a list of debrief questions and sharing them with your salespeople you're holding them accountable to getting that information from a prospect in their initial meeting or having a confirmed next step in the calendar to get the answers.
Below are seven questions your salespeople should answer to confirm that your prospect not only has the budget to invest in your services, but that you'll get your money in a timely fashion should you choose to work with your prospect.
1.    How - before we even consider the other questions your reps need to uncover how much their prospect has to spend either in round numbers or in a bracketed range.
2.    What - what does your Accounts Receivable department need to do or provide your prospect in order to get paid? Early in my sales career, I missed my quarterly target because I didn't know that my client had to issue a Purchase Order, which had to appear on the invoice from my company so our invoice wasn't processed by my client.
3.    Who - who are the billing contacts for your company and your prospect's company? Best practise is to stage an introduction or have a quick conference call to introduce everyone involved in billing to reduce the potential for billing conflicts in the future.
4.    Where - will the money come from for your products? Your salesperson may be speaking to the Director of Operations about a new software system, but part of the budget will come from IT. Without uncovering that information early your salesperson could lose their sale or at least lengthen their cycle.
5.    When - when does your prospect typically pay vendors? I've heard from a few reps recently of being paid "net 90" (up to 90 days after their client receives their invoice). To keep your lights on that might not work for your business.
6.    Why - why will they use those payment terms on you and are they open to negotiating their terms?
7.    How - how will they pay you? Cheque, electronic fund transfer, credit card, cash?
Of those questions, the two "hows," where and when, are typically the "show stoppers," which would cause your rep to decline to continue pursuing that prospect.
The "how much" question being a show stopper is obvious, but the "how will you pay" question could be a show stopper if you don't accept certain credit cards or credit cards at all and your prospect only does business with their credit card.
The "where" question could be a show stopper if you are either unable to connect with the group who controls some of the budget for your service or if that group doesn't believe that they need to invest their budget in a service like yours.
The "when" question could be a show stopper if your prospect's payable cycle and your cash flow cycle are out of sync. This is especially true if you need to make investments with your vendors to fulfill your client's order, like purchasing materials.
Empower your salespeople by giving them the questions you expect them to answer to uncover if the prospects with which they are meeting are truly worth their time.
Until next time... go lead.

Free Guide to Being a More Successful Manager

Part of your responsibility as sales manager is to help your sales team increase their capacity to perform and improve the outcomes of their performance. To that end, you conduct regular sales meetings to hold them accountable, you provide coaching to keep them on track, and you provide training when needed.

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