I got a lot of questions on Monday. Are you really moving? Did you really buy THAT car? Did you really take that job in a different city? The cause of all those questions was my relentless barrage of April Fool’s jokes. I’m pretty brutal with April Fools. I end up apologizing on April 2nd to a few people every year, who started making travel plans or researching online mattress companies based on one of my jokes (you know who you are).
All those questions got me thinking about questions in the world of sales, and how we sales people usually mess up when it comes to questions. So I’m declaring April “question month” and starting with discussing what the mission is when it comes to sales questions.
I’ve always liked the Never-Rarely-Often-Always belief statements as an accurate reflection of a sales interaction.
– Prospects never believe what you tell them.
– Prospects rarely believe what you show them.
– Prospects often believe what others tell them.
– Prospects always believe what they tell themselves.
That reality means that selling is a process of aided discovery, not demonstration and presentation. Teaching is an essential element of selling, which confuses a lot of sales people into thinking they should be lecturing their clients on product information. But if you think about the best teachers you’ve ever had, it was usually the questions they asked that got your mind working in a different direction, discovering the answers for yourself.
That’s the point. Questions are about assisting the prospect in expanding their awareness and thinking. Yes, of course, questions also allow us to confirm need, and quantify it, but the main benefit of questions is that they provide a non-confrontational way of challenging status quo thinking.
Now you’ve got the root motivator of your questions down, it is time to figure out the metrics around questions themselves.