Never assume. Instead, inquire.
It’s hard to comprehend how many sales were lost today, around the globe, because of a false assumption.
I don’t want this outcome for you. Neither of us do. So, before you go into your next sales call, please do 2 things for me…well, for you really:
- Scan your understanding of the prospect or customer for any assumptions you may have, then…
- …determine the right questions to ask to confirm what you were assuming.
That’s a good start, but I want to point you a great resource that will help you by giving you some excellent questions which can really open up the conversation. They can turn a sales presentation into a true conversation. It’s what they would prefer, so do it their way.
Co-presidents of RAIN Group, Mike Schultz (@Mike_Schultz) and John Doerr (@JohnEDoerr), recently wrote a great blog post for the RAIN Selling Blog titled, “21 Powerful, Open-Ended Sales Questions.”
I could not agree more with this premise the authors propose:
… sometimes all you need is to ask one open-ended question and your client will share with you all the information you need to help them.
You may think, “Sure, that’s true once in a while, but not as a typical conduit to getting the sales signed.” What if…what if the right open-ended question could help you gain more sales quite a bit more often than you do now?
I believe this can be the case…and it should be.
This post from Schultz and Doerr offers 21 great open-ended questions you can use, in the right moments, to obtain the most important information you’ll need to get from the opening line to the closing of the sale.
The questions are smartly organized into four categories:
- Aspiration– & Afflictions-focused
Without giving away the bacon, here’s a little sizzle, a taste of the questions:
- RAPPORT: What’s going on in your business these days? How have things changed?
- RAPPORT: It was good to hear the short version of your background at the meeting, but since we’re out for lunch, I’d love to get the long version. What’s your story?
- ASPIRATION: Many of our clients are reporting problems with areas A, B, and C. How are these areas affecting you? What do you think about them?
- IMPACT: If you were to make this happen, what would it mean for you personally?
- IMPACT: If you don’t solve (insert the particular challenge here), what kind of difficulties will you face going forward? What won’t happen that you want to happen?
- NEW REALITY: If there were no restrictions on you – money, effort, political issues and so on do not exist – what would you change? Can you tell me why you say that?
The authors make a good point with this statement:
As you ask any open-ended sales questions, bear in mind that the most difficult task is not sounding too contrived. While we’ve suggested wording here in this article, feel free to use the concepts, but make the wording your own when you ask the questions.
If you’ve read this far, and you have, then this topic is at least of some interest to you. I would also recommend this post from @SellingPowerMag: “The Power of the Right Question at the Right Time.”
As for this featured post by Schultz & Doerr, read it all. You’ll not only be able to pick-up a few more great questions to use in your sales conversations, but you’ll also be able to pass on this help so others can learn from you.
By doing that, by sales coaching when that isn’t even your title yet (if that’s the case), then word will spread that you’re the right kind of person who can help grow a sales team. Be proactive.
Don’t look only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others around you. That approach will serve you well. It has for me. You’ll all benefit from it.
QUESTION ::: Do you have go-to open-ended questions you use to get deeper into the conversation/into the funnel? Do you actively search for other questions, better questions, to build your arsenal?
Let’s talk about it…
Click here to download our free guide:
2015 Guide to Sales Optimization: Restoring Sanity to Sales