You want to understand not just what the impact is to the company, but also to the people that they serve. For example, if someone said their app has outages all the time, and it’s been cash advance online loans Connecticut a real challenge for the company, my next question would be, “How is that impacting your team?” Now, they may tell you that it’s really frustrating and they’re having a difficult time getting resources and maintaining a crew of people who understand the technology. Then you can ask, “How does that impact you?” In that way, you can progressively get to know who the buyer is and what their motivations are.
Tell me about.
A lot of times, salespeople will ask questions like, “Is there a sales training team that supports you?” Well, goodie, because now you’ve got a “Yes” or “No” answer. That’s not going to get you more of what you need. Instead, if you ask, “tell me about the sales training organization that supports you,” you’re going to hear about whether or not the training is good and how much of a relationship they have with it. You want to get to the organizational dynamics and those driving factors that are actually guiding the decision, and “Tell me about” questions can help you do that.
If you do things right over the course of the first meeting or the second meeting, you can ask things like, “What does that mean for your career?” Now you’ve shown them how much you care, how much you want to learn, so they’ll be willing to talk about themselves. You can get to that point because you’ve built trust every step of the way.
Colleen Stanley, President, SalesLeadership Inc
It starts with emotional self-awareness, because that which you’re not aware of, you cannot change and you’re bound to repeat. So during your pre-call planning process, this might mean writing down good curiosity questions and thinking about when you might be triggered by a prospect to present the product too soon. If you have a prospect saying all the right things, you might skip over all of these great questions you need to ask and start product dumping. Or if they’re a challenging prospect, you might get nervous and move to a product dump rather than asking effective redirect questions. Emotional self-awareness leads to emotion management, which leads to the execution of asking consistently good questions.
What’s not happening that you’d like to see happen?
What’s interesting about this question is that you could frame it up as, “What would you like to see happen?” But if you understand the neuroscience of selling, you’ll know that when you have a bad experience, you are going to recall that quicker than a positive experience. So I’m going to ask the reverse question: “What’s not working? What’s not happening?” And people can tell you quicker what’s not working than what is working. So that’s one that I will often ask, and I can get a lot of the story from it.
Can you give me a recent example?
You’ve got to be aware that you might want to start telling versus asking. The more you’ve been in this business, the worse it gets, because you may have heard about a particular issue over and over again. It’s the curse of knowledge. This question is a simple response to that. It’s not a rocket-science question, but I find a lot of salespeople miss it. When I ask for a specific example, the prospect starts telling me their story. It is then and only then that I can start gathering criteria by which I can figure out if I’ve got a solution or not. So that’s a really easy question, and then, be quiet and listen.