I’m not talking about asking “open” or “closed” questions or those various types of questions designed to move us closer to a sale.
What I’m talking about are questions that move us from being a tactical salesperson concerned about a single sale to being a strategic salesperson focused on long-term growth.
Here’s my perspective on how I break things down:
Lousy salespeople ask customers questions the salesperson already knows the answer to.
Average salespeople ask customers questions the salesperson doesn’t have the answer to, but the customer has the ability to answer.
Great salespeople ask customers questions that neither the salesperson nor the customer can answer.
Think about this for a bit and what it means to the relationship a salesperson has with their customer.
Salespeople are always looking to gain a level of comfort and there is nothing wrong with that.
What is wrong is how the salesperson goes about being comfortable.
New salespeople or lousy salespeople are quick to play the ego card with the customer. They think they can make the customer feel comfortable by the salesperson being the smartest person in the room.
Sure, the strategy can and does work initially, but long-term it doesn’t get the salesperson anywhere. In time they have to increase their skill set, which means all but the lousiest of salespeople naturally wind up growing out of this phase.
Most salespeople fall into “average category” and ask customers questions they know the customer can answer. This, however, doesn’t really stretch the customer to explore other needs they may have.
It’s the great salesperson who is so confident they don’t mind asking customers questions that neither the customer nor the salesperson can answer. Not only is the salesperson confident, they also know they’ve made the customer feel comfortable.
What type of questions are you asking?
Copyright 2014, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.
The value of a sales person is not in the information they give, but the information they gather. Your questions should demonstrate your ability to diagnose the prospects pain. Prospects are not supposed to know the answers because if they knew the answers why would they need a sales person?
Mark, I think this is EXCELLENT advice. Can you give an example of a question both you and the customer can’t answer – and how it forwards the conversation? Very interested!