Sales Best Practices: Asking questions as a means of facilitating every step in the sales process.
The single most powerful tool that a salesperson has is a well-phrased, appropriately asked question. Nothing else compares to the impact that a good question can have on the customer and the sales process.
That’s because a good question directs and influences the customer’s thinking. When you ask a question, they think of the answer. That simple statement neatly packages the latent power of a good question.
Yet, few salespeople understand that, and fewer still implement it.
A number of years ago, a study was done on this very issue. Here are the results:
“Out of 300 salespeople studied, 87 percent realize the importance of asking questions. However, only 27 percent displayed the ability to ask a well thought out, stimulating series of questions.”
In other words, thirteen percent of the salespeople in the world don’t even recognize the power of asking a good question. And only about 1 out of 4 could actually do it. That means that 3 out of every 4 salespeople, or 75 percent, don’t ask good questions.
There are two issues here: First, realizing the importance of using good questions effectively, and second, actually doing so.
This is such a big issue that my book, Question Your Way to Sales Success, is devoted entirely to this.
Everyone can ask a question. I have a three year old grandson. He can do it. This issue isn’t asking questions; the issue is asking better sales questions. While I can’t condense the book to a few hundred words here, I can point out a couple of things that the best do with this most powerful tool.
1. They prepare their major questions before the sales call. This gives them the time to select the best language and sequence.
2. They are mindful, at every stage of the sales process, of using better sales questions. They understand that there are questions, there are good questions, and there are better sales questions. So, they constantly focus on creating and using better sales questions. Whether it’s a cold call on a prospect, or following up after the sale, at every stage of the sales process, a more effective use of questions will produce dramatically better results. And they know that.
3. They collect good questions over time, and use them over and over again.
A master salesperson is a master at the use of better sales questions. That’s why it is a best practice of the best.
About the author: Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales training educators. Since 1988, Dave has worked with over 400 companies, helping them to increase their sales and develop their sales people. He’s been published over 1,000 times, writes a weekly Ezine (subscribe for free at http://www.davekahle.com/mailinglist.htm), and has authored seven books. Dave’s website is available at http://www.davekahle.com, and you can follow his sales blog at http://www.davekahle.com/salesblog.
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