People hate being sold, yet love to buy.
From the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, we learned, if we were lucky, his 5th Habit: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.
Why is it then that many “Old School” salespeople and the image of a salesperson is typically connected to fast-talking, back-slapping, joke-telling, always be closing, and technique-filled high-pressure sales tactics?
Or, from another great book, The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann, we learned The Law of Influence: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first. This could easily have been called The Law of Sales or The Law of Leadership because both hinge almost entirely on influence to be effective.
Yet, “Old School” salespeople tend to vomit features and benefits, claims, and statements like, “We’re number one, we’re the best, we really care about our clients, and we’re the cheapest…blah, blah, blah!”
But who really cares? That’s right…No One! What they care about is if you can help them solve their problem or not and how in the world will you ever truly know what their problem is if you don’t ask effective questions.
“Old School” salespeople tend to dominate conversations and the prospect, if given any time to talk, is often interrupted and told they are not thinking correctly. The sales killer is likely armed with a million and one ways to close any deal, overcome every objection, and is at the ready to always be closing (ABC).
In Bold Networking, we teach Never Be Closing (NBC) and grow influence through understanding and empathy which can only be achieved through asking effective questions. It is typically much more effective to do most of the listening and let the other party do most of the talking. In fact, seeking to achieve a ratio of 80% listening to 20% talking supercharges the quality, safety, and effectiveness of the conversation, rapport building, and sales success.
7 Benefits of Asking Questions
- Builds upon Rapport
- Lowers Resistance (Improves Know, Like, Trust, and Value)
- Adds Credibility – Educating vs. Selling
- Truthful, clear discovery
- Saves time and money by properly diagnosing OR disqualifying early
- Keeps prospects interested and emotionally involved
- Control – Whoever asks questions is in control
4 Key Mindsets for Effective Questioning
- Be Curious
- Be Suspicious
- Be Tactful
- Control Your Emotions
- No Preference for Outcome
- Be Empathetic