No Sales Questions, No Sale

Everyone talks about how important sales questions are, but why?  Understanding how and when to use sales questions in the sales process can have a big impact on your sales results. To master the use of sales questions, I thought we should talk about why it’s important for you to take the time to learn how to use them. This is the second part of our series on sales Five reasons you should use sales questions in your presentation - sales strategy workshopquestions.  If you missed it, take time to read: Why, The Importance of Sales Questions – Part 1.  Here are my top five reasons why you should invest in learning how to use sales questions.

1. Use Sales Questions to Gain or Maintain Control of the Sales Call

Don’t lose control in the sales process. Keep asking questions, and the prospect has to follow.

Asking questions helps you maintain control of the sales process and it allows the prospect to verbalize their concerns. When the prospect gets to verbalize their concerns and needs, they gain a better understanding of what they want and need and so do you. This allows them to easily make a good decision and gives you the ability to help them. This is important in the first two stages on the presentation sales process, the warm up and the need analysis.  Sales questions are also important in the test close and the final close.

2. Use Sales Questions to Isolate Areas of Interest

One of the biggest issues for many sales people is that they assume they know why someone will buy their product. You can’t assume anything when you go into the sales process. You must find out why they will buy your product and you want them to tell you. What are they really looking for? What is the prospect interested in? What is the problem they want to solve? How will they make the buying decision? Asking sales questions is the only way to find this out.

You have to isolate their areas of interest. You can’t do this by telling. You do it by asking. You have to use sales questions. If you can get them to tell you what they are specifically interested in, you can better position your product or service.

By using sales questions to isolate areas of interest, you gain a clear advantage over the competition. You know what you need to do to make the sale.

3. Use Sales Questions to Acknowledge a Fact

When you talk, you hope the prospect is listening. But what do they hear? One of your goals is it make sure that when you make an important point, that they agree with it. You can use sales questions to have them tell you that they agree.

When you present your prospect with a solution that could provide them with added labor savings. Don’t just throw it our and move on.  Ask them a question to make sure they feel the solution will give them their savings before you talk about price or move into a close. You need to have them acknowledge that fact. You need to use a sales question like:

We feel that this solution will save you as much as 10% in labor cost, wouldn’t you agree?”

When they agree, they have acknowledged this as a fact they believe. This brings you closer to winning the sale. What if they don’t agree with this assumption? That’s fine. You now have a better understanding of what you need to do.  You need to find out why they didn’t agree, rework you assumption and ask again. The key is to understand that until they agree, you can’t close. When they do agree. You can move on.

When a fact is important to the sales process, make sure the prospect acknowledges it. You do this by asking sales questions. When you state a fact in the form of a sales question, and the response is positive, you have agreement.

4. Use Sales Questions to Receive Minor Agreements

In most selling situations, there isn’t one magic close that wins the day. Selling has a process that builds on the sum total of the number of yeses you get. A series of yeses, leads to the final decision to own or use your service.

Let me give you an example of how we use a tie-down sales question to receive minor agreement. We’ll use the copier sales situation. “You stated that having the ability to print document over the network was important, isn’t that right? (Ask the question and don’t talk until they answer.) “I think we have demonstrated that this machine will print all you need and do it over your network, wouldn’t you agree?”

You need to receive minor agreement on a lot of points during your sales presentation. By asking questions, you can make sure that they are in agreement with your position. You use questions that help you get minor yeses that lead to the close. Closes most salespeople miss because they don’t ask questions to gain minor agreement.

5. Use Sales Questions to Isolate Objections

Most salespeople fall apart when someone starts giving them objections. Want to be at the top of the sales board each month? Then understand that you need objections in the sales process to make a sale. If they don’t object to something, they don’t care.

The key is that you should always use a sales question to isolate their objections. Most people will always give you one reason for not making the decision to buy on your first close. Why do they say no? Because that’s what they have been conditioned to do. What you want to know is if the objection is real or an excuse. To do this, you would use sales questions. If the prospect told you that they didn’t like the color. You would repeat the question or feed it back to them to get clarification:

“You didn’t like the color?”

By feeding it back to them, you are asking for more information. You will use sales questions to make sure it’s a real objection or just a reflex reaction. They will now have to verbalize what they don’t like about the color and give you the information you need to make a new proposal and close.

You use sales questions when you need to determine if an objection is real or just a dodge. You will ask questions to help you satisfy that objection. Use sales questions to find out if you satisfy the objection, will they buy, or is there something else holding them back. Objections are good if you know how to deal with them.

It’s All in How Use Sales Questions

Your ability to:

  • Set an appointment
  • Present your product
  • Lead the prospect
  • Close the sale

All depend on your ability to ask sales questions.  Take some time to think about all the areas in the sales process that are giving you problems. If you could stop telling them and start asking more sales questions, you close ratio would improve greatly.

In Part 3 of this series, we take a look at Open-Ended Questions.  Be sure to check it out.

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