Sales Skills #3
Asking Questions is the third critical sales skill. The Question is the number one tool salespeople have for engaging the prospect, building rapport, discovering needs, agreeing on those needs, managing the conversation and the sales cycle.
FACT: 86% of Salespeople Ask the Wrong Questions
Poor questioning skills lead to resistance in the form of objections later in the sale cycle and do not facilitate relationship building or company differentiation.
The Best Sales Questions to Ask
Questions help customers make their first key buying decision, which is whether to "buy" the salesperson. (See Sales Skill #1: Managing the Buyer Seller Relationship.) Questions build rapport and demonstrate interest in the customer. They uncover customer needs, who to call on, the decision-making time frame, competition and how the customer will make the decision.
But merely asking questions isn't enough. Action Selling's questioning strategy shows salespeople how and when to ask the best questions; open-ended questions that begin with "What", "How", and "Why". For example:
- "What have you used in the past?"
- "How was it implemented?"
- "Why did you decide on that?"
As you ask open-ended questions to investigate customer needs, you will come upon some needs that seem to have a particular urgency. Whenever you suspect this is the case, ask a leverage question to confirm your hunch and clarify the situation. For example:
- "How has this problem affected you and your company?"
- "What are the consequences if this problem continues?"
- "How are your customers affected?"
These types of questions encourage customers to talk about the gut issues they are facing. By clarifying what's really at stake with a business problem or opportunity, leverage questions increase the customer's desire for a solution. And they let the salesperson know how to present a product as the right solution to the right issues.
If you want to be positioned as the best or only solution for your customer, ask the "Best" questions. They will view you as a consultant with their best interests in mind.
Go to Sales Skill #4: Sales Presentation Skills