In sales asking the right questions and getting the right answers can either make or break a potential prospect’s buying decision. It’s imperative to not only ask the right questions at the right time, but to be a great listener as well. There are two types of questions in sales: open ended questions, which cause a prospect to respond with more than a one word answer; and closed ended questions, which usually result in a one word answer. Both questions are vital to the sales process and imperative in building rapport, trust, interest, confidence, and ultimately closing the deal.
Before ever recommending a product or service to any potential client, it’s important to conduct a needs analysis and ask qualifying questions to decipher what is going to be the best product or service to meet their individual needs and budget. These questions should be open-ended. Great open ended questions include: what or who are you currently using, what do you like/dislike about the product or service you are currently using, if you were to change products or services when would you be looking to make a switch? What, when, where, why, who and how questions are great ways to get the prospect talking and involved.
Take great notes and let the prospect know that you are paying attention; this is a great way to build rapport, trust, and confidence. It’s imperative that when qualifying prospects that we are tuned in and not broadcasting. Be sensitive and be sure to empathize with the prospect by letting them know that you completely understand what they are saying. After carefully listening to your prospect, you will be ready to provide them with a solution to their problem. Great salespeople are phenomenal problem solvers. This sales method is commonly referred to as solution selling, one of the greatest ways to generate business. Being a great listener also helps you to ascertain what type of prospect you are dealing with. No two prospects are alike. By listening closely to what your prospect is saying, you will be able to decipher what is most important to them and what hot buttons you need to press in order to get them to make a buying decision.
The other types of questions are referred to as closed ended questions. Studies have shown that prospects that say yes six times or more during a sales call are 90 percent more likely to buy. In phone sales, we use rhetorical, close-ended yes questions to force a prospect to nod their head and say yes. These questions should be asked continually throughout the sales process and especially when making initial contact and directly before closing. Great ways to get a prospect to say yes include confirming facts and information that have already been collected or disclosed. Other ways include asking great qualifying questions like, “Mr. Prospect if I’m able to find you a better product at a lower price, you would obviously be looking to get started right away, right?”
The most successful sales people are great listeners. They ask the right questions, listen attentively, adapt to their prospects personality by mirroring, and provide products and services to meet their customers’ needs, as well as their budget. By qualifying properly, taking good notes, mirroring, and keeping your prospect involved during the sales process you will build rapport, trust, consumer confidence and interest- ultimately gaining their business. When it really boils down to it, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
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