You have often heard me speak about the power of great questions during the sales process. Questions will eliminate the guesswork and ensure you earn the privilege to recommend your products and services. Typically, the reason why sales opportunities are not maximised is that the questions raised were inappropriate – or not asked at all.
Understanding that people make buying decisions based on emotion rather than logic, it is paramount that your prospect expresses emotion during
questioning. A tried and tested approach during sales opportunities is to follow this simple three stage questioning technique.
What is your plan?
I would always start with the biggest possible question. For example, “Explain to me your plan for the business?” This usually results in fifteen minutes of feedback, which will provide the big picture and hopefully include the business owner’s goals. The key is to keep the question broad rather than specific.
Your product offering will only affect part of their plan, and without understanding it all it can be difficult to know where you would fit. Look for the detail and steer toward an emotional response whenever possible. This series of questions should first seek to attain the “what?” followed by the “why?”. If the plan includes luxuries, get specifics, as these become very valuable when closing.
How will you feel?
Once you understand where they planning on going, it’s important to understand how they will feel when they get there. This information is not
difficult to retrieve. Simply ask, and then listen to their answer.
You will need to dig a little here to acquire the emotions, such as pride and euphoria, which make this technique really powerful. Encourage strong adjectives, and don’t accept weak responses such as “I will feel pretty good” or “Ok”.
What are the consequences?
We are more motivated to avoid a loss rather than make a gain. Knowing this to be true, this questioning technique concludes with this final enquiry, as it discovers the source of your prospect’s pain and allows you to agitate it a little. Most people don’t give sufficient consideration to failure, and asking this question forces them to think about disappointment and defeat. Once people have clearly visualised a total breakdown they will avoid it at any cost.
This technique works by establishing your prospect’s plans, clearly detailing the exhilarating experience of overwhelming achievement and
momentarily forcing them to experience the pain of collapse. I often describe it as painting utopia, checking their ego and finally rubbing salt into a wound. The good news is that once you have ‘prodded the bruise’ your presentation should be the best medicine. If you get these processes right, you will win more business!