I was asked recently to share what I think is a great sales question. Here is what I believe is possibly the best question you can ask:
“Could you explain more?”
I always love asking this question, as it’s designed to get the customer to share more about what they said earlier. I like to think of it as similar to peeling an onion.
When you first look at an onion, there are a number of layers of skin that have to be peeled off. The same can be said with a customer. To get to the customer’s real needs and the benefits they desire, it is necessary that you get the customer to share deeper on what they initially share. You have to peel back those layers (or, as I like to say… you have to get the customer to peel them back for you).
Your skills as a questioner (and a listener!) become so vital in situations like this — more vital than most salespeople probably realize. In fact, I will go as far as to say that questioning skills are one of the key things that differentiate average salespeople from extraordinary salespeople. Those of you who thoroughly understand and use good questioning skills will always outsell people who fly by the seat of their pants.
As I have already pointed out, what you do after you ask the question is incredibly important. You must genuinely listen to what the customer says when you ask them to elaborate. This will often give you information to then go even deeper and uncover more needs.
“Could you explain more?” What a great question!
For more tips on communication skills, consider this article.
Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.