voiceI’m a firm believer in having questions to ask a customer or prospect.  There is no better way to engage someone than to ask them questions that get them talking about their needs.

Challenge is not just having good questions you can ask the other person to engage them, but also to have great next questions to ask.  What I mean by this is to be asking follow-up questions on what the customer shares with you.

View the customer as if you were peeling an onion.  The initial questions you ask are similar to the first few layers of an onion.  Your objective in peeling an onion is to get to the good part. Same thing with your conversation.

Your objective is to get to the good part of understanding the customer’s needs and wants, and that means asking follow-up questions regarding what they just shared with you.

If you strengthen your skills in using follow-up questions, in time you get to the information you want.  For the conversation, this means getting the customer to share with you what their real needs or concerns are.

As easy as this sounds, what I find amazing is how few salespeople actually do it.  Also, keep in mind that some customers and prospects are not even aware of their true needs and wants until a skilled salesperson has helped them discover and reveal that information.

On your next sales call, focus your questions on what they’ve already told you.  When you do this, you will accomplish two things.  First, you’ll get the customer talking more about an issue they deem to be important.  Secondly, it shows the customer you’re listening to what they say and you view what they’re saying as important.

The outcome of this second point is the customer will typically start sharing with you information that is even more important, all because you’re genuinely listening and valuing what they say.

Our goal is to match their needs to what we’re offering, and there is no better way to do that than by asking follow-up questions.

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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