How many sales visits do you make where YOU do all the talking? Especially on a first appointment!
Its back to basics but you may want to take a look at the importance of questioning techniques. You need to ask open questions (how, what, why, where, when, who) and then listen. There is a time and a place for closed questions (will you, would you, do you, did you and have you) but as they typically get "yes" or "no" answers if you are not careful and you ask closed questions too early the sales call quickly degenerates into an interrogation. The rapport breaks down, you make your pitch too early and before you really understand the customer's needs. You lose control of the call, then you lose the order and the customer misses out on the great benefits you could have delivered.
So let's take an in-depth look at questioning techniques. But first of all, let's look at why we are, typically, asking questions in the first place - to uncover and develop needs.
WHAT IS A NEED
- A need is any want or concern expressed by the buyer that can be fulfilled by the seller
- Not everyone has a specific want, most people however do have concerns
- You cannot create wants and concerns, but you can uncover them by exploring the prospect's concerns
- In our cartoon - the king does not WANT and machine gun, but he is CONCERNED about winning the battle
- The more serious the need (the concerns) the greater the impetus to act upon them
- You need to get the prospect talking to uncover their needs and develop the seriousness of them
NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO TALK
- Ask closed questions and you are limiting the information you get
- Open questions make people think
- Open questions get descriptive answers
- Open questions make people talk
OPEN QUESTIONS, CLOSED QUESTIONS
- Not everyone wants to talk
- Give people the opportunity not to talk and they won't talk
- Open questions (sometimes called indirect questions) make people talk
- They are used to get people to "open up" they make people think, they get descriptive answers
- Closed questions (sometimes called direct questions) get yes or no answers
- Analyze your questioning so as to make sure that you ask 80% open and 20% closed questions.
- Unfortunately, closed questions are easier to ask
- The "Compliant Client" helps us out they give open answers to closed questions
THE "KIPLING WORDS"
- Rudyard Kipling was once on one of his many trips in Africa
- A journalist asked him "why is it that you are so worldly wise?"
- Kipling replied, "...I keep 6 honest serving men, they taught me all I knew, their names are WHAT and WHY and WHEN and HOW and WHERE and WHO."
- Most salespeople talk too much
- If you are talking you are not listening
- If you do not listen you will never find out enough information about the customer or their needs
RIGHT REASONS, REAL REASONS, LOGIC AND EMOTION
- People make decisions for 2 reasons - right reasons and the real reasons
- Decisions are made on logic and emotion
- Decisions are made on rational grounds and irrational grounds
- We pitch sell to right reasons, but the decision is based on real reasons - we lose the deal
THE ICEBERG PRINCIPLE OF HUMAN BEHAVIOUR
KEEP THE PROSPECT TALKING
- Salespeople don't keep the prospect talking for long enough
- They don't uncover the concerns
- They ask closed questions too early, pitch product too soon
- Frequently salespeople don't build up the seriousness of the problem
- Therefore, there is no impetus to act
- To avoid all these factors, we use different types of open questions
- OPEN NEUTRAL QUESTIONS - these get long, un-influenced, non - specific answers
- OPEN LEADING QUESTIONS - for long influenced, specific answers
THE FUNNEL QUESTIONING TECHNIQUE
- The questioning funnel is used to guide the prospect into the areas that suit us
- You can let the customer have their own way
- You can get the customer to ask for what you have on offer
DEVELOPING THE NEED
- The funnel technique will get the customer to really open up and talk
- Get beneath the tip of the iceberg and the customer will talk about their issues, concerns and problems
- They will realize for themselves the seriousness of their problems
- You can get them to tell you the potential outcome of not fixing them
- By getting the customer talking you get them to build up the seriousness of their problem
- The impetus to do something about it becomes greater
- The funnel technique is one of the most powerful selling tools available to you
- The key to its success is to practice using it
- First of all, work on your open questions
- Then start to consciously differentiate between open neutral and open leading.
- When you become skillful with this technique selling becomes a lot easier
- You can make the customer ask for the products or services you have on offer!
- You can get beneath the tip of the iceberg and really find out what is going to make the prospect make a decision.
- Just remember WHAT, WHY, WHERE, WHEN, HOW and WHO!