Are You Asking The Wrong Questions?

I primarily want to talk about the “right” questions. But I guess that means we first have to talk about the “wrong” questions. What are they? To make it simple, a wrong question is a yes or no, closed-ended question that doesn’t (generally) lead to a larger conversation. Seems simple, but it’s probably more complicated than one would believe.

Even though many of you probably think you have this skill of asking questions nailed, it would be interesting to have a microphone hooked up to you during your next sales call to find out if you ask meaningful, exploratory, open-ended, courageous questions. AKA, the right questions.

One of the key differences between average salespeople and great salespeople is that great salespeople have figured out that in order for them to be great, then they need to be great at asking questions. And they must listen. Now, by listening, I mean listening with the intent to understand, as opposed to listening with the intent to interrupt.

Which questions will make you money?

We know that we have to ask questions to get information. We know that open-ended questions are the type of questions we want to ask, because those open-ended questions foster and promote dialogue. And while it’s okay to open a conversation with an easy, close-ended question, you make your money by asking the:

  • Hard questions
  • Difficult questions
  • Questions that might be inconvenient
  • Questions that might be uncomfortable for you
  • And quite frankly, some questions that you maybe don’t want to hear the answer to, but you absolutely need to hear

Your job is to seek to understand the challenges facing your prospect, not just identify the specific product they need. This separates you from the others talking and pitching product solutions. Buyers today want someone who is going to make them think about things differently, and how their world could look if the problem they are currently facing was no longer an issue. The question for YOU becomes: how good are you at getting your prospects to the point where they can’t stop thinking about the conversation they had with you, and that problem you helped them identify is a “have to fix” problem?

Here’s what we know. Prospects can ignore you. They might not reply to your voicemail. They might not respond to your email. They can ignore you, but what they cannot ignore or escape is their own thoughts. Do what you can to make sure that they keep thinking about that conversation and your questions even days after you’ve left them.

And if they are, that’s how you know you’re asking the “right” questions.

From Alex Cole-Murphy, Sales Development Expert
Anthony Cole Training Group


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