The Right Questions

The Right Questions

The most successful salespeople know that during a sales call, listening is more important than talking.  The way to get the prospect talking in a way that can help you sell them what they need is to ask the right questions, in the right way.  By using an informal, conversational style you are allowing the prospect to actually participate in the sale, which in turn lets them know that they are being heard.  There are three basic types of questions you will need to ask.  It doesn’t matter exactly what questions you ask, as long as you are always mindful of which of these three categories of information their answer will fall into.

 

  • Ask questions that help you qualify the prospect- There are many basic questions that cover needs, timeframe, budget and decision-makers.  These questions should be asked in a way that helps you determine the fit between your prospect and your product or service. Don’t forget to take notes to capture the prospect’s key issues, concerns, milestones, deadlines, wants and constraints.  As you get closer to closing, make sure you have addressed them all.
  • Ask questions that give you ‘big picture’ information- Now start to tie the qualifying information you gathered into the context of their business as a whole.  Questions that will give you information about their business model, their image, how they differentiate themselves from the competition, how they’re building their business.  If you listen closely, this could tip you off to additional considerations you’ll need to address that did not come up when asking them qualifying questions.
  • Ask open-ended questions-  In other words, questions that can not be answered with ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  if you ask a lot of yes/no questions, you end up steering the conversation based upon your knowledge or assumptions and you will miss key pieces of information.  Here are some examples of how to phrase your questions;
    • “Could you please describe….”
    • “Can you give me an example of….”
    • “Please tell me more about….”
    • “Can you expand on what you just said about….”