“A powerful question is nearly always short, concise, it’s easy to understand, because if it’s not easy to understand, it won’t be easy to answer.” – Meshell Baker in today’s Tip 1543
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today Meshell Baker, the Sales Confidence Igniter, is back with the next installment of her multi-part series. Here she is:
Meshell Baker: Hello and welcome to the ABCs of Sales. Today’s letter is Q, and Q is for Questions. Peter Abelard has a quote, The Master Key of knowledge is indeed a persistent and frequent questioning. A question by definition is a sentence worded or expressed so that it elicits information. Why is this important in sales? Because as a seller, we need information. The more information we are equipped with, the more likely we can develop and communicate a solution to that person that we are speaking to.
So when questions are powerful, they are thought-provoking and potent motivators. It is an inquiry fueling conversation, both internally that the listener or the hearer of your question is thinking and externally in their responses. A question is meant to spark deep thinking and requires answers that create an open-ended dialog and an opportunity for new ideas, new perspectives, and a mindset change in the person that you’re speaking to. You have a solution to their problem and when you spark ingenuity and creativity in the way they think about the problem tied to your solution, they will more than likely be a yes for what you are offering.
So here are a few characteristics to a powerful question.
One. Open-ended. It must be something that is not a single definitive answer like yes, no, maybe. You are asking questions that invite and open a dialog. They are brainstorming and thinking. It creates an energy in the person who’s responding and they have a freedom to explain or elaborate and clarify on what you’ve been discussing. Make a list of your open-ended questions before you get ready. This is pre-call planning. Have a list of questions you can ask that person that will open the dialog.
Two. They are thoughtful. Again, discussion or debate. Sometimes you actually want the person that you’re speaking with to really think about what they have been doing for so long so that they begin to debate, Is this goal or this belief that I have in the best interest of what I just told you that I want my outcome? So it sparks and supports an intentional action to move the client from the reaction of what they’ve always been doing to a thoughtful decision of the possibility that you’re bringing to them.
They’re proactive. Number three. Proactive. It offers an opportunity to explore possibility and examine solving without fear of rejection or repercussion. Proactive means they’re positive, that that person feels good for not knowing. That’s a powerful gift you can give that prospect or that client is that they feel good in not knowing because you are bringing value to that conversation.
Number 4. Creative. It sparks ingenuity, ideas, and solution. Yes, you may know the answer. Yes, you may be right. Your power is in giving or drawing out that creativity, ingenuity in the person who is listening to you. So form your response in a question. And the easiest thing to say, what if you want them to think about it so that they see the solution in their mind’s eye and that marries it with the opportunity for them to say yes to what you’re offering.
A powerful question is nearly always short, concise, it’s easy to understand, because if it’s not easy to understand, it won’t be easy to answer. And I’ll close with this, a quote by Michelle Obama, focus more on learning than on succeeding. Instead of pretending that you understand something when you don’t, just raise your hand and ask a question. Questions are powerful. Do not fear them. Just ask another question if the first one didn’t land right, and be willing to be authentic if you don’t understand, ask another question. They are your power and your keys to success. Have a great day selling.