The final question that can be used during the Exploratory Process™ is the Closing question. To clarify, Closing questions, as part of the Exploratory Process, are different from the Closure Step in the Diamond Presentation Process™. Closing questions are not used to close the deal or ask for the sale. Their purpose is to provide a transition from information gathering to our solution recommendation. Closing questions are the vehicle by which we gain permission to move to our solution presentation.
There are a couple of prerequisites to launching Closing questions. First, you need to have identified the customer’s gap(s), as this will be the basis of your solution. Second, you must have insight as to the decision process and who will be involved in the purchase decision. We never want to move to the solution presentation, only to find out that others, not present, need to be included in the decision process. Once the gap is confirmed and the purchase process is defined, you are ready to engage Closing questions. Here are a few good examples:
- Based on our discussion, it appears there is a gap. May I present some ideas to you to close the gap and help you achieve your goals?
- Your input has been extremely helpful and also sheds light on key needs at your company in terms of (profitability, quality, customer satisfaction, etc.). I have some thoughts on how we can greatly (improve your quality measures, reduce delivery cycle, etc.). May I share that information with you?
- We have a program that will significantly close the gap. May I share that information with you?
The three primary objectives of the Exploratory Process are to identify the customer’s gap, build trust, credibility and rapport, and set the stage for an effective solution presentation. The process is designed to be dynamic and flexible, because that is the nature of our communication with customers. Identifying the customer’s gap may be accomplished in a single session or it make take more than one call. The number of Exploratory questions needed to identify the gap and define the decision process will also vary from one customer to another. The Exploratory Process is most effective when we stay flexible in the order and types of questions used, maintain a natural flow of conversation and obtain the information needed to develop a winning solution.