Salespeople definitely have a tougher sale these days. With the internet, customers already know about you and your competition and are pretty far down the buying process before you even speak with them. They can smell a pitch from a mile away and tune out and hang up very quickly.
So how do you level the playing field and break through the icy exterior? It is with good questions. This article will explore the ways to use sales questions to win customers over and become a highly effective closer.
Good sales questions can get a customer talking and building rapport. Once the customer feels comfortable enough with you to have a natural conversation, a little bit of patience and good timing will dictate when to drop your pitch.
Unfortunately, it may take a bit of training to learn how to ask questions that gets the customer talking. Have you ever had a prospect just straight-up refuse to answer your question? Or what about those that answer with one word answers with a nice hint of annoyance in their tone (before they promptly hang up on you)?
Asking the right questions will help you get to know your prospects; the more you know about them than the easier it will be to address how your product can solve their needs / pain points.
The best questions to start with breaks the ice and gets the prospect to like you. You don’t want to come on too strong too fast; you need to ease into the conversation. Don’t ask sensitive or personal questions too quickly; that’s a quick way to lose trust. After a bit of small talk, transition into an easy question that gets them talking such as: “your business model looks very interesting, can you tell me a little about your product / service?” You could even ask a more personal question like: “your company looks very interesting, how long have you worked here?” If they feel comfortable answering these questions, raise it up a drop with a question like: “what would you like to change in the next year or so?”
Avoid these in the beginning; they lead no-where. Close-ended questions get one-word answers; this is not conducive to getting a conversation started. They work in situations like scheduling a meeting; for example, “are you available to speak more tomorrow at 10am?” But they don’t work well to get the customer speaking about their problems. Instead of saying: “does your company have a problem with the current accounting software you are using?” Say instead, “what problems or pain points are you currently experiencing with your accounting software?”
Start Off With General Questions and Get More Specific
General questions gets the prospect speaking so that you can eventually drop your pitch. However, your general questions should be strategic; they are designed to lead the prospect towards your solution. The questions should be adjusted to respond directly to your prospect’s responses. Be careful about moving too quickly to start delivering details about what your product does; if you talk too quickly, you may not be addressing what your lead really needs. A few sample questions you can ask to get the prospect moving in the right direction are: “what product are you currently using? What do you like or don’t like about it?” You could also find out about what they would like to improve on with a question like: “what are your long and short term goals?”
Don’t Get Too Off Topic
Stick with one question at a time. Don’t ask too many questions without first getting to the core of a specific topic. It is very easy in a conversation to ask a series of questions; one question may get answered well while the other is completely ignored. Avoid asking a sequence of questions such as: “What do you like about your current software? What do you not like? And, what would it take for you to leave?” Instead, ask each of these questions separately after you have discussed each answer in detail.
While the sales landscape may be different today, the process of asking good questions which leads to natural conversation is no different. Every salesperson worth his salt knows how to get a lead talking with a good question.
Do you have any good sales question tips? Feel free to reach out to us with questions, or how you use sales questions to get prospects to open up.