Never allow yourself to be comfortable asking your customer what I call single-focus questions. These are the superficial questions too many salespeople ask, all in the ruse of engaging the customer and thinking it is going to help them close the sale.

Rather than asking single-focus questions, develop a 3-tier approach to questioning. The first tier is the open-ended question designed to engage the customer with a response longer than merely a yes or no. Second tier of questioning is where you ask them a question designed to get them to explain deeper what they shared with you in the first question. This is built on the premise the customer will rarely share with you their real needs and pains right away in their answers to the first question you ask. Customers do this for two reasons, first they may not even really understand how to express what their needs or pains are. Second, many times customers are reluctant to reveal too much information too quickly, because they don’t know exactly what the salesperson is going to do what they tell them.

This is why the second tier of questioning is so important, because it is designed to get the customer to reveal to you more pertinent information about what their needs are. Once they share with you more information about their needs, you can then move onto the third tier of questioning. The third tier of questioning is where you take a single specific point about what they just shared with you and you ask them an even deeper follow-up question. The deep follow-up question leads into a very tight response around the single item you’ve honed in on as being critical to them.

By using this strategy, you can have the customer lead you to the close rather then you having to lead the customer. This occurs because as you go deeper with your questions, the customer will go deeper with their responses. They will expose their needs and pains themselves. The only thing you need to do then is to confirm with them their needs and pains and then close the sale.

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