Following on from last time we are looking at the importance of developing questions.
Many of us feel the need to build credibility and trust through telling the prospect all about what we have done and what great companies we work for however asking the right questions achieves the same goal. It is most important to spend time planning the questions as more sales are lost through asking the wrong questions than are lost because of not having the best price.
There are two more key areas that relate to asking good questions –
3. Good questions build relationships
The act of asking good questions shows that you care about the person and his/her problems. The more questions you ask about your customer, the more he/she feels your interest.
The law of reciprocity indicates that the more interest you show in a customer, the more likely that customer will be interested in you.
Did you ever attend a reception or party and meet someone who was very interested in you? Asked you question after question about yourself? When you parted, you thought to yourself “What a great person”. Why did you think that? Because of what he/she said? Probably not. You thought the person was wonderful because he/she expressed interest in you! And you formed that impression because of the questions they asked of you.
You can make use of this principle by asking good personal questions of your customers and thereby building strong relationships.
I also recommend you take good notes.
4. Good questions convey the perception of your competence
In other words, your customer sees you as competent and trustworthy – not necessarily by what you say – but rather by what you ask.
Here’s an illustration. Suppose you have a problem with your car. You take it into the mechanic down the street and say to him – “My car is making a funny sound” and he says to you “OK, leave it here and pick it up at five”.
You’re not reassured by his approach so you take it to the mechanic across the street. You say the same thing to him and he says to you “What kind of sound? You reply “A strange thumping sound”. And he says “Is it coming from the front or the back of the car?”. And you say, “It’s coming from the front.” And he asks, “Is it a metallic kind of sound or a rubber kind of sound?” And you reply, “It’s definitely metallic” And he says, “Does it go faster when you go faster and slower when you go slower, or is it the same speed all the time?” You respond, “It definitely speeds up as I do.” Then he says “OK leave it here and pick it up at five”.
Which mechanic seems to be the more competent? That’s easy. Obviously, the one who asked more questions. Questions show you understand your prospects problems which in turn builds your credibility.
Got the idea? The focus and precision of your questions does more to give your customer the perception of your competence than anything else.
Every one of your customers wants to feel that the salesperson he/she is dealing with is competent. You convey that perception by asking good questions about the details of your customer’s needs and applications.
Mastering the use of good questions is the salespersons single most powerful interpersonal tool – in every aspect of your sales interactions will dramatically improve your results.
A word of caution, remember what I said at the start – just as the right questions build your credibility asking the wrong questions can just as easily destroy it hence the need to plan your questions – do you homework – do your pre-planning before you ever make the call.
Quote of the Week –
“Price is always an issue if you look and sound like every other salesperson”
In my next article I will look at mistakes to avoid in your sales presentations.
Have a successful week!
BRETT BURGESS is a sales trainer and programme developer for Moss and Associates International.