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Tech sales: It’s time to kill your old-school discovery questions

April 09, 2021

Tech sales: It’s time to kill your old-school discovery questions
Is it time to kill your outdated sales discovery questions?
If you’ve been in tech sales for some time, you’ve seen a massive shift in buying behavior. Part of this transformation is because you find yourself selling to younger digital natives. Monthly payments don’t scare them—look no further than their multiple streaming services. Many were born with a Netflix account.
But this blog isn’t about selling to young people. It’s about opening financial doors for any of your prospects or clients through new questions and smart financing. Some just need a little more convincing to see the clear financial benefits…
Kill your old discovery questions and replace them with these:
1) Can I help you pay for your other initiatives?
For the laser-focused sales pro, it’s tempting to only focus on the current deal on the table. After all, you don’t want to distract your client … or yourself. Big mistake, say our experts. It’s time to think outside the deal.
Consider taking a step back and asking them about their other initiatives, which are separate from the opportunity at hand. Why? Because those initiatives are going to cost money, and you can help them free up cash for them. Enter smart financing.
For example, separate from your deal, let’s say your client needs to hire 3 more salespeople. It costs $X to add these folks who would help grow their business. Now that you’re equipped with this intel, you can offer your client a financing package that gets them the equipment they need now, plus frees up cash to round out their dream team. They can pay their new staff on the front end and finance the new solutions on the back end. Having both can be a big win.
2) Can we align financing with your tech life span?
Not all product life spans are created equal. (Think network security, laptops, warranties and updates.) When you ask your client what they plan on doing when their product life spans end, you’re unlocking something powerful for them—the ability to line up financing with those life spans.
For example, if you sell your client laptops that have life spans of 3 years, you can create a 3-year finance program that ends with them receiving new laptops—complete with bells and whistles and financing—at the end of the cycle. Seamless, modernized and cost-efficient. 
3) Can we map out your ROI/ROE?
This discovery question depends on the maturity level of the reseller, the end user and everyone at the table. If appropriate, purposefully walking through a tangible return on investment and equity can have a major impact. Spend some time on it. Present it. After all, it immediately makes you a valuable extension of their team. Starting questions include:
What do you expect the ROI to be on the tech you purchase?
What do you think of NOT owning expensive equipment that quickly depreciates?
4) Are you willing to do the opposite of your competition?
The more aggressive version of this question is: Are you willing to retain more upfront money than your competition while getting the latest tech every 3 years and avoiding old, depreciating assets?
Although leasing and financing equipment isn’t new, it’s not how your dad’s company worked. Our finance team reports that this concept even scares modern companies that brand themselves progressive. Today’s purchase-only companies certainly part with more upfront money and may be sitting on 5-year-old laptops that are rapidly depreciating, and even unsafe. This is good news for your prospects and clients—if they’re open-minded.
If you can ask competitor-based questions while painting a strong leasing picture, you’re well-positioned to elevate your clients’ operation. They need to imagine a world where they get the tech they want, without writing a big check, all while investing that money in other initiatives. Then, they return the tech after 3 years and replace it with safe, new equipment—all while paying over a timeline that works for them.
5) If you could get this tech today without cutting a check … ?
The best sales execs are the best visionaries—and they ask visionary questions. Consider asking your prospects or clients the following:
If you could get this technology today without cutting a check, what would you do with the money?
This finance-forward question immediately puts your clients in vision-casting mode. They probably moved heaven and earth to get a budget for what you’re selling, and you’re telling them to put their checkbook away (while still getting what they came to you for). With smart financing and leftover money, they’ll look like a hero to the brass. In short, you’re rewarding them for partnering with you. 
Ready to talk financing? Ingram Micro’s financial solutions team can help you win with your clients.


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