I think most sales people have heard the expression: “Selling ain’t telling.” Aside from bad English, the expression has plenty of merit. The number one reason for lack of success in sales is that sales people talk too much. It’s obvious if you are not talking then your prospect must be talking. It does get a little boring when you have a meeting and no one is talking. So the obvious question is how do you get your prospect to talk? Just as obvious is the answer and that is you ask questions.
Asking questions is a selling skill that will demonstrate to your prospect that you want to be of service to them. You need to develop the skill and the habit of asking questions in order to advance your success in sales. The more questions you ask the more you will know about your prospect and the more you know about your prospect, the more you can assist them in solving their problems with your products and services. What tends to happen in most sales situations is the sales person is so enthusiastic that they even have someone to talk with, that they want to impress the prospect by telling how great the company, the products, and the services are. However, the prospect is thinking at this point I don’t care how great the company, the products, and the services are until I know this sales person understands what I want to achieve. Asking questions demonstrates that your focus in on your prospect not on yourself.
Asking questions is not as hard as you might think. You may think you have to ask the perfect question or you will appear stupid. Consider the prospect already thinks you’re stupid as it relates to their business. Of course you want to do your homework before calling on a prospect, and even prepare some well thought out questions before the call. But you really are stupid (I’m using stupid here in the good sense of the word) about the prospect’s business. So don’t worry about asking a stupid question. Be just like a little child who is curious. The more curiosity you have the better and more meaningful your questions will be. When you ask questions based on really wanting to find out about your prospect’s needs and wants, your prospect will sense your sincerity and be willing to give information to you because they will feel it is in their best interest to do so.
If you are getting resistance when you ask questions it is because you have not established trust and credibility with your prospect. You want to establishing trust and credibility early on in the sales process. When you understand the buying process, it is easy to establish trust and credibility. When you have established trust and credibility you earn the right to ask your prospect questions because your prospect gets that you are there for them.
Another reason you may get resistance when asking questions is your questions come across to the prospect as leading them. If you ask a prospect a question and the answer is obvious, the prospect will feel they are being lead and they will resist. Have you ever asked this question? “If I could show you a way to get this implemented and save money, would you be interested in finding our how to do that?” Come on now!!! This is about the same as asking “You don’t want your kids to grow up and become a dumbass do you?” On the other hand if your questions are coming from curiosity, the prospect will be at ease and will more readily answer questions.
These are just a few thoughts on the importance of asking questions. I have a recording you can download titled “The Answer is in the Question” and you can get it for FREE. I go over a lot of sales techniques and strategies about questions. You’ll want to have it as part of your sales training library. Just go to www.andreboykin.com and click on the “Free Sales Training Tools” button to get your copy.