Asking questions is one of the best ways to enhance your sales skills. When was the last time you played the 21 questions game? It’s probably been awhile. Why not try taking the idea behind the 21 questions game—uncovering experiences, interests and details about another person—and use that approach the next time you talk with a potential client. You've got to do this for another reason than just to "sell them". You've got to do this in order to put your sales prospect's interests first.
Fact-finding—or asking questions—is a crucial skill in sales. While you don’t want to overwhelm your client with too many questions, you do want to discover their needs and find out how you can help them meet those needs. Here are some do’s and don’ts in asking questions:
Don’t ask scripted, rehearsed questions.
Avoid asking one-size-fits-all questions; prove that you are really listening by asking thoughtful questions.
Don’t assume you know the answer.
Throw your assumptions out the door and let your client express their needs, thoughts and experiences. And while they are doing this, you should listen instead of thinking about what you're going to say next!
Do ask open-ended questions.
Questions that begin with how, what, and why are great ways to open up conversation. Phrases like “Explain to me…” and “Tell me more about…” are also great prompts.
Do ask follow-up questions.
“So what I hear you saying is…” is a useful follow-up question. Repeat key phrases or ideas that your client has said to show you understand them.
Asking questions and focusing on a real conversation will help build a solid relationship with your potential clients—and make you that much more effective in your sales!
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