Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Open ended questions or just have a chat?

It worries me how many people who are relatively new to Sales, and indeed some who are not so new, get hung up with the need to ask open ended questions. In fact sometimes I see salespeople going into a panic about if the question they just asked was open ended and then rather than listen to the answer, they start to think about the next open ended question.

The trick is not to think in terms of specific questions, but rather having a simple conversation, just as you would with someone outside of work that you met for the first time. Of course, in your social world you probably have some standard question and/or phrases you use (consciously or subconsciously) to start or develop a conversation. Sometimes these may seem pretty corny, but once you get passed the first few, you are off and running – you are having a conversation! Then most of the time things go smoothly and you feel more and more comfortable.

With this in mind you may want to have a few kick-off questions – “Can you tell me about ....?”, “How do you currently....?” “What would you like to do differently with regard to....?” – but remember this is just to help you to enter a meaningful conversation that should enable you to learn what you need to know. Once you start having a conversation, you will find that prospects and customers naturally begin to tell you what you want to know, with less and less need for you to prompt!