On any sales call, your goal is to get as much valuable information as you can from your client—information that can help you recommend a relevant solution or service, build trust, and close the sale more quickly.
One of the most basic—and least understood—ways to elicit info is the art of question-asking. Ask the right questions and you'll uncover unexpected information and insights, especially about your client's feelings on a particular topic.
The key is to plan your questions in advance. But, be prepared to ask questions you hadn't thought of in the first place! Good questions, and the answers they'll elicit, can make a huge difference in your ability to quickly close a sale.
Asking good questions will get you a treasure trove of good answers.Here are 9 examples of questions that can help you move the sales process forward faster.
Get Your Client's Perspective
These types of questions help you uncover and better understand your client's situation and perspective.
- How do you compare your organization to your top competitors?
- What aspects [of our proposal, of your current state, etc.] are you most pleased with?
- How will you evaluate progress on this project?
Explore the Possibilities
These types of questions help a client visualize success and move toward a future state, with you as the provider.
- If you had only three months to meet your goal, what would your priorities be?
- If you had all the staff [or resources] you needed, what would you do first?
- What is your ideal working relationship with a vendor?
Understand Your Client's Feelings
These types of questions help you understand your client's needs and fears—what's driving them.
- What is this situation doing to your workload?
- What are your concerns about the new product release?
- What would be the best-case scenario in this situation?
Use these questions as a model, but make them your own. Use your own words to reinvent the questions above, or to create new ones specific to your client and what you already know about your client's situation.
Really listen to your clients' responses and engage with them where they are. Be wary of asking too many questions in rapid fire succession. It's a conversation, not an interrogation.
Finally, don't rigidly stick to a script. If a client offers info you want to know more about or that seems particularly important to the client, follow that conversation through. I think you'll be pleased with what you discover.
Why master the art of question-asking?By mastering the art of question-asking, you'll put yourself in the advantaged position of being able to build stronger relationships with clients, make better recommendations, and close deals faster than before.
The ability to ask thought-provoking questions is a critical one for sales pros, especially in complex sales environments or during consultative conversations. Luckily, it's a skill that can be learned and is taught in our Influencing Skills Training Workshops.
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