“Asking the right question is an art and essential in sales.” – John Thalheimer in today’s Tip 984
Do you ask the right questions?
Join the conversation below and learn more about John!
Have feedback? Want to share a sales tip? Call or text the Sales Success Hotline: 512-777-1442 or Email: [email protected]
Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from John Thalheimer. John is an award-winning management consultant, speaker, and author who has helped hundreds of businesses and thousands of professionals transform their potential into extraordinary performance. In his latest book, The Truth About Selling, he shares the secrets of how to achieve better sales for your organization. Here he is:
John Thalheimer: Ask the right questions. My friend Steve Van Valin, the CEO of Culturology, a consulting company that creates engaged organizational cultures. Shared this concept with me, he said, “To successfully find a solution, we first must know the right questions to ask.” In an interview with Bill Moore, Dr. Jonas Salk, the polio vaccine developer, said, “If the solution comes through asking the right questions because the answer pre-exist.” He went on to use the analogy of Michelangelo statue of David. When Michelangelo was asked how he sculptured such an incredible icon, he said, “I saw him inside the stone and I carved to set him free.” Asking the right question is an art and essential in sales.
As a salesperson, it is your responsibility to ask the questions to understand your customer, including their desire and fears. You must learn how your products, your ideas, your services, can best serve that specific customer. Additionally, your questions can help filter people out and focus on individuals with a higher likelihood of investing. The goal of questioning is to seek understanding.
In the sales process, you’re trying to understand if the person is a potential investor, client, or customer. In sales speak, this is called qualifying the client. Are they qualified to be your investor, your client, or customer?
Ask these questions. Do they have the problem you are trying to solve? Do they have the resources needed to invest in your idea, services, or product? Do they have the resolve to invest in you?
By asking these three questions, you will filter out individuals who will be less likely to invest in your idea of product or services. Once you qualify, your customers ask questions to understand their situation. In his book, Ask more, Frank Sesno cause these strategic questions those that focus on the big picture. As he now says in his book, strategic questions sharpen the focus on the larger objective. The higher the calling and to clarify what is it will take to get you there.
Here are some examples of strategic questions.
What is your adventure goal? If you reach your ideal state, what would it feel like? What are you trying to do? How will you achieve your goal? What steps have you taken to move closer to your ideal? What have you tried in the past? What didn’t work? What would you be willing to let go of to achieve your ideal state? Have you looked at alternatives? What made you hesitant to go forward with another option?
The other purpose of this type of questioning is it allows you to guide people down a path. People tend to get stuck in one mindset. They see the world from their past experience. Questions can free them to see from another perspective. In Ask more, Sesno cause these creative questions. In business coaching, we call them curious questions. Either way, the goal here is to get the individuals to rethink their framing and open up to new possibilities.
Here are some examples of such questions.
What if there were no limits? What if fear wasn’t an issue? Go big, what problem do you really want to solve? How would you solve it? What legacy will you leave? Congrats. You’ve already succeeded. What decisions did you make to achieve this goal?
Another way to guide people is to have them better diagnose their current state. Here are some questions you can ask to facilitate that process.
What frustrates you about the situations? What emotions are you feeling? What barriers are holding you back from having a frictionless day? What causes you the most sniffing and grief at work? At home? In life? If you could eliminate this challenge for you, what value would that add to your life?
In my seminars, I asked the participants, why have you invested your time to attend this class?
This is a strategic question to get participants thinking about their long-term goals. I’m also guiding them to make a decision by asking them to value their learning not only in terms of money but also in time.
Some exercises to improve your techniques have a curious conversation with a child ages five to nine. What type of questions do they ask you? Did you have the answers?
Decide on one question and ask it of ten people. What answers did you get? Were they the same? What did you learn?
Work with your coworkers to create a list of qualifying questions for your clients.
Scott Ingram: For links to connect with John and to get a copy of his latest book: “The Truth About Selling,” just click over to DailySales.Tips/984 and we’ll have everything for you there.
Once you’ve done that. Be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!