Asking the right questions will lead to more sales
Asking the right questions, at the right time, will help differentiate the top sales professionals. Including the right questions in a sales pitch may seem like an easy task, but it’s about making sure the timing is correct, that the questions are relevant, and that you aren’t asking questions that you should already know the answer to. The more thoughtful the question, the better the result.
Questioning is a vital technique in sales. If you’re asking the correct questions at the right time, you will successfully build credibility and trust with potential clients.
For many reasons, sales people too often shy away from asking questions and prefer to talk. Lots of salespeople are failing to ask the right questions and are all too eager to impress the client with their own knowledge, stories, and ideas.
Being overconfident in their knowledge of the client or subject matter, will encourage them to believe they already know the answers to potential questions. Often, they worry that they’ll ask the wrong question and be viewed as incompetent. But the biggest inhibitor, is that most people just don’t understand the benefits of good questioning. If they did, they would end far fewer sentences with a statement, and replace this with a smart question.
Sales questions are typically used to do one of two things:
- Gain information or knowledge
- Validate information or assumptions
Here’s are 6 key points to help you become better at asking the right questions to improve sales effectiveness:
1. Work out what questions you need to ask before the meeting. Preparation is key and whilst there may be a handful of generic questions you’d like to ask all prospects, make sure you have thought specifically about this client. Don’t treat all client meetings the same, everyone is unique.
2. Don’t be afraid to write down and refer from a list of questions you’d like to ask. It would of course be better not to have to refer to a ‘script’, but it’s better to ask the questions from notes, than to come away feeling good that you didn’t have to refer to your notes but missing vital information which could be key to the sale!
3. Don’t over complicate your questions with technical jargon you client doesn’t understand. One of the biggest barriers to effective communications is language and all too often we hear salespeople using jargon the client doesn’t understand.
4. Finding the balance is also key. Be sure not to interrogate your prospect, the right amount of questions is the important, make sure you’re not bombarding them and know when to answer a question with a question, or a question with an answer. Research shows that 11-14 questions was optimal for the most resourceful outcome.
5. Start with open questions that build rapport before you get into the specifics of products or solutions. It’s sales 101, but use mostly open questions. You’ll learn far more from a well asked open question that one that requires a simple yes or no.
6. Finish with questions that seek objections. For example, ‘is there any reason we couldn’t move forward with this project?’. If the answer is yes, ask why?
Without the right information, how will you make good business decisions about how to offer an appropriate solution. Plan carefully what questions you want to ask before your next sales meeting, it will give you a better chance of winning.
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