Amy Fox | Published: March 1, 2011
Good salespeople have figured out that the most effective way to build relationships with clients is through compelling questions. When done right, questions help you connect with customers and advance the sales process.
But before you do anything, you need to have a plan. Prior to your call, identify what information you have and what gaps exist. Check your list to ensure that the information is all about your customer―not you. Don’t fall into the trap of asking a laundry list of questions or product dumping.
One of the most compelling questions is a Motivation question. Motivation questions get at what’s really at stake for the client and allow you to find out what the impact, consequence, or effect will be of fixing the customer’s problem. For example, it might sound like, “After your company installs the new system, what impact will that have on your department?” Or you might simply ask, “Why is that important?” The key is uncovering the customer’s motivation so you can understand how they define value.
Another compelling question is around the customer’s priority. Imagine this scenario: you’ve had a great conversation with the client, there’s been good dialogue, you’ve discussed his needs, and he seems interested in learning more. But weeks go by and you hear nothing. Sound familiar? In the moment, during your call, it’s easy to assume that your conversation is a high priority for the customer, but there are other issues at play in the customer’s world. Make sure to find out where you stand and ask at least one priority question. Simply ask, “I’m sure there’s a lot on your plate. How important is it for you to address these issues?”
The third compelling question is what I call a “What else?” question that allows the customer to clarify and expand. Remember, successful salespeople don’t have to have the “magic bullet” question; they have to give the customer opportunities to share what’s on their mind and then really listen. So, first summarize what you’ve heard, and then ask, “Did I capture everything correctly or are there other priorities we haven’t discussed?”
Remember, compelling questions will give you compelling information!
What are some effective questions that you ask?
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