If you want better Answers, ask better questions, part 1:
Let's pretend you will be meeting with a new prospect. To prepare for the meeting, you carefully developed and rehearsed a series of questions to not only uncover the prospect’s needs, but also help the prospect discover the unique aspects of your product or service. You know in which direction you’d like the conversation to proceed and you’re confident you can direct it there. So, now you’re fifteen minutes into the sales call and the conversation is off in left field somewhere and you’re wondering “How’d I get here?”
Or, perhaps the conversation has turned one-sided. You ask your well-thought-out questions and your prospect responds with short, two or three word answers. It begins to sound like a cross-examination rather than a sales meeting.
Salesperson: “Wouldn’t you agree that a multi-step, criterion-based implementation plan will help your company maximize its growth potential in the early stages of cross-platform integration?”
Prospect: “I’m not sure.”
If that’s happened to you, you’re not alone. It happens to salespeople time and time again. If you want better answers from your prospects, perhaps you should send them a list of questions you plan to ask along with some suggested answers they can rehearse.
Another and perhaps more realistic strategy for obtaining better answers from your prospects is to ask better questions. Most salespeople have been taught the two fundamental types of questions to ask. “Open” questions designed to elicit information and “closed” questions designed to elicit a decision, commitment, or conclusion. Open questions start with who, why, what, where, when, and how. Closed questions start with verbs such as: is, are, did, does, has, was, were or helping verbs such as could, should, may, and can.
Open questions are effective for initiating a conversation, eliciting information, broadening the scope.
Are Open Questions the answer? Next week Open Questions.