How often do you think about the questions you use in your sales process? Do you spend any time crafting questions that drive your buyer to make up their own mind and buy from you?
When you ask the right questions, you control the conversation. Questions allow you control the direction of their thoughts. Do you realize how important this is to your sales process?
There are basically two types of questions for you to get the information you need: Open or Closed.
Closed-ended questions are questions that can be answered either “yes” or “no” by your buyer.
Examples would be:
- Would you like fries with that?
- Do you think I look fat in these pants?
They can also be questions that ask for a specific piece of information so you can clarify data.
Examples would be:
- What is your address?
- How do you spell your last name?
Open-ended questions are the opposite of closed-ended questions. They can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” and require your buyer to expand and give you more information.
- If you were able to buy this today, how would it help you and your family?
- What else do you need to solve your problem?
What Type Of Question Is Better?
Both questions have a specific purpose in the sales process. At the beginning of a conversation with your buyer you may need to ask a lot of closed ended questions to get their situation. I also use them as a check to make sure they’re following along with the conversation (“Are you with me?” or “Any questions about what we’ve covered?”).
Open-ended questions are critically important to get your buyer’s needs, wants, desires and motivation to buy what you’re selling. They allow you to arm yourself with the proper tools so you can aim directly to the heart of the buyer. You won’t need to waste time presenting features and benefits that aren’t of any use or importance anymore.
Do You Hear Me?
The important thing is to actually listen and hear what they’re saying. Give your buyer the time to fully answer the question. Comfortably ask your question and wait for their answer in silence.
Recently, I was in a sales meeting and listening to one man role play his customer conversation. He would ask an important open-ended question and then would give them a couple of options to choose from, making it a closed question. He would ask things like, “How would doing this benefit you…(pause about 1 second) more money, allow you to move you up in your career, or greater freedom?”
While the buyer could begin to open up, he was giving them options to choose from so they didn’t have to really think and answer the question. The entire goal is to get your buyer to open up and give you what they need to buy. Don’t feed them what you think will sell them.
Think about the questions you use when selling. Are you happy with the amount and type of questions you use? Do you get enough information that allows the buyer to make their own decision to buy from you? How will you construct your questions differently to become even more effective?