By Mike Yates
In Part 1 we identified that one of the key areas to help you become outstanding in sales is the ability to ask outstanding questions. To be more specific: how you develop your meetings with prospective clients. Do you rehearse your meetings in advance? Do you practice to deliver really powerful questions at the right moment?
Powerful questions can stop a prospect dead in their tracks during a meeting and really make them think about how your business may benefit their business. No matter what the prospect was thinking, you will suddenly realise that they are now totally focused on you. Powerful questions have a dynamic effect on prospects – the right one at the right moment can instantly flip a sale into your hands.
You may ask: “ok, so what’s a powerful question then?” (Great question!) Well, what works for one person may not work for another. What works for one business may not work for another. One of the keys here is to measure the results you are getting. Write out some questions and simply try them out, then try them out again – in different situations. Only by doing this will you find out what works and what doesn’t in your industry. That’s how you will identify powerful questions for your business. As an example, if somebody said to you, “I’m really quite happy with my current provider” or “I’m not interested” (which are common objections that you’ve probably heard a few times) you can react in one of two ways: You could respond:
1) “Er…Ok then” and lose the call, but make yourself feel better by asking “Is it ok if I call you in a couple of months” to which of course they will say yes to get you off the phone (or cut short a meeting) – not recommended !
2) You could respond with “may I ask you a question, just one question before I go?” to which you will get a 99 % positive response (because you’ve asked permission). You will then ask a question designed to get this person’s full attention – they will then be totally focused on the answer to the question.
When you are designing powerful questions all you need to remember are that there are only two primary motivators – people either want to ‘move away from’ or ‘towards’ something in their lives. The next thing to remember is that the ‘away from’ motivation is normally far more powerful than ‘towards’ motivation. So, as an example, say I am meeting with a business owner who is working 90 hours per week and is stressed, I could ask ‘How long do you want to carry on running the business like this?’ or ‘What are you going to do differently that will give you a different result?’
As another example, say you are selling life insurance, and you have identified that someone is under insured you may wish to ask ‘Ok with the level of insurance you have at present, just how long are you planning to stay dead for?’ This is certainly to the point – and is very likely to gain attention. It’s a powerful question designed to make the person sit up and seriously consider what will happen with their family should they die – it’s also a great ‘away from‘ motivator.
The main message today is that a powerful question will take a prospect that may not even be considering your product (and, quite frankly, have more pressing things on their mind) suddenly have your full attention. So, to be an outstanding salesperson, designing outstanding questions is one of the key areas of your profession.
Time for you to try something:
Beginning your question with: What, Where, Which, How or When
What are the top 10 powerful questions you can ask your prospects in your business?
This article is contributed by Mike Yates, Business Growth Specialist, www.121business.co.uk