Edit ModuleShow Tags

Get your “ask” in gear

Asking questions in the sales process is vital to finding, qualifying and closing deals, as well as offering the best possible solutions for your potential customers. To be successful at selling, you must systematically approach your customers with a repertoire of impactful questions that ensures you clearly understand their business challenges, struggles and goals.

Asking questions is based on the theory that "what" salespeople ask and "how" they ask is more important than anything they say. Great salespeople know this approach makes sense, because to present solutions, you first must learn what your customer needs.

Knowing how to ask the correct type of questions is crucial for the survival of your business and affects the amount of money you earn. You must pay extra attention to honing this skill by getting your "ask" in gear. The ability to ask questions is a make-or-break factor in the sales process.

The most efficient way to uncover a potential customer's needs is to ask questions. Not just any questions; high-impact, open-ended, fact-finding and qualifying questions. Sales people who attempt to sell without asking questions, sell by making assumptions. Making assumptions about your customer's needs is a lose-lose situation. Questions enable you to diagnose problems prior to prescribing solutions.

Asking questions is a skill that is practiced to be mastered. Doctors, detectives, police, interrogators and members of the military study this skill. They know that the right questions at the right time get them the answers they need. Would you want to go to a doctor who recommends surgery or a radical treatment prior to examining you?

I work with many companies that tell salespeople "what to say" instead of teaching them "what to ask." The power is in the asking, not in the telling. Companies that embrace this fact will end up ahead of the competition and close more sales.

I don't tell salespeople to go out and ask a bunch of meaningless questions; I teach them to ask the right questions at the right time. Asking questions in a completely random fashion is unproductive and ineffective, especially in this competitive business environment. Instead, I teach them how questions can be used to pique the customer's interest and establish credibility within the sales process. They learn to use questions to identify greater needs and uncover more accurate information from potential customers.

Your job is to ask open-ended, non-manipulative, customer-focused questions that uncover your customer's needs. Asking strategic questions earns you the right to probe further and gain a complete understanding of your customer's needs. Once you have earned that right, you can escalate the impact of your questions to increase your value. How you phrase, position and line up your questions has a major impact on your customer's responsiveness.

The right questions at the right time create the right opportunities. The way to tell if your questions are having an impact is to check your bottom line and your sales results. If your questions are not yielding the results you desire, then sales coaching can help! Remember, it's not what you sell, it's how you sell.

{pagebreak:Page 1}

Edit Module
Liz Wendling

Liz Wendling is the president of Insight Business Consultants, a nationally recognized business consultant, sales strategist and emotional intelligence coach. Liz is driven by her passion for business and generating results for her clients. Liz understands the challenges that business owners are facing building a business and selling their professional services in today's market.

Liz shows clients how to tap into and use their innate strength, power and confidence to develop highly successful businesses. She teaches them to create effective, dynamic and fluid client conversations that turn interested prospects into invested clients who keep coming back.

Go to: www.lizwendling.com or email Liz@lizwendling.com

Get more of our current issue | Subscribe to the magazine | Get our Free e-newsletter

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Top nine ways to make the most of your press coverage

Both start-ups and well-established business seek press coverage for their products and services, and a feature story in a well-respected publication can be much more effective in generating sales than traditional forms of advertising.

RII Sports Technology uses data to give football coaches an edge

Tom Woods doubled down and started a second business built off the model of his first, but the new idea was rooted in football – the perfect elixir for a die-hard sports fan like Woods.

Top seven tips to fuel your fervor

There are days when you feel like you are running on empty. Your fuel for your pursuit seems to be gone. We've all been there. How to nurture passion? Try these tips.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Thanks for contributing to our community-- please keep your comments in good taste and appropriate for our business professional readers.

Add your comment: