Ask Great Questions

One of the most powerful tools available to salesmen is a good set of questions. The more relevant and probing the questions are, the more you will distinguish yourself from your competition. Take the time to develop a good set of 20 - 25 questions that you can pose to the client. Make sure to do some research on the prospect’s organization so you can communicate intelligently with them about what they do, and why they might need your product.

Here’s why asking great questions will help you:

  • You will gain the client’s respect and trust
     
  • You will be able to learn their true buying objectives and motives
     
  • You can learn exactly how their organization makes its buying decisions

Here are some ideas on how to create a list of questions:

  • Ask good qualifying questions such as:
    * What prompted you to look into this?
    * What’s the most important thing you hope to accomplish by investing in a solution?
    * What kind of budget are you working with?
    * Who else will be involved with this decision?
    * What would you like to see happen as a next step?
     
  • Ask about the competition. Don’t be shy. Ask who else they are considering for this purchase. Ask them to rank each competitor.
     
  • Ask good forecasting questions such as:
    * What is your timeline on this project?
    * What might the consequences might be if a good solution isn’t found?
     
  • Ask questions to enhance your rapport, such as:
    * How did you get involved in…?
    * What kind of challenges are you facing?
    * What’s the most important priority to you with this? Why?
    * What other issues are important to you?

The primary goal in asking good questions is to earn the client’s trust and respect. If the client feels that you know your own products, that you understand his business, his goals and objectives, and that you are not simply trying sell him something, but rather trying to see if you can help him find a viable solution, then your relationship will blossom into one that is long-term and that will benefit both you and your client.