Best Practice #34: Prepares better sales questions for every important sales call.
By Dave Kahle
The single most powerful tool that a sales person has is a well-phrased, appropriately asked question. Nothing else compares to the impact a good question can have on the customer and the sales process.
That’s because a good question directs and influences the customer’s thinking. When you ask a question, they think of the answer. That simple statement neatly packages the latent power of a good question.
Yet, few sales people understand that, and fewer still implement it. A number of years ago, a study was done on this very issue. Here are the results:
“Out of 300 sales people studied, 87 percent realize the importance of asking questions. However, only 27 percent displayed the ability to ask a well thought out, stimulating series of questions.”
In other words, thirteen percent of the sales people in the world don’t even recognize the power of asking a good question. And only about one out of four could actually do it. That means that three out of every four sales people, or 75 percent, don’t ask good questions.
There are two issues here: First, realizing the importance of using good questions effectively, and second, actually doing so.
This is such a big issue that my most recent book, Question Your Way to Sales Success, is devoted entirely to this issue.
Everyone can ask a question. I have a three year old grandson. He can do it. This issue isn’t asking questions; the issue is asking better sales questions. While I can’t condense the book to a few hundred words here, I can point out a couple of things that the best do with this most powerful tool.
1. They prepare their major questions before the sales call. This gives them the time to select the best language and sequence.
2. They are mindful, at every stage of the sales process, of using better sales questions. They understand that there are questions, there are good questions, and there are better sales questions. So, they constantly focus on creating and using better sales questions. Whether it’s a cold call on a prospect, or following up after the sale, at every stage of the sales process, a more effective use of questions will produce dramatically better results. And they know that.
3. They collect good questions over time, and use them over and over again.
A master sales person is a master at the use of better sales questions. That’s why it is a best practice of the best.
To learn more about this skill, consider my book, Question Your Way to Sales Success or bring a one-hour training program into your company. Review Stand Alone Lessons – Pods #4 and #5: Mastering Your Most Powerful Sales Tool.”
If you are already a subscriber to The Sales Resource Center, consider Cluster #CL-14, “Asking Better Sales Questions.”
About the Author:
Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written twelve books, presented in 47 states and eleven countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine. His book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, has been recognized by three international entities as “one of the five best English language business books.” Check out his latest book, The Good Book on Business.