Written by Sean McPheat |
No doubt you have been on those sales courses that discuss asking questions to get information from prospects and customers.
You may even have a suite of quality questions in your armoury that you roll out whenever you need to dig deeper and analyse the situation more closely.
Often, though, the discussion can sound more like an interrogation.
A few open questions here, a few probes there, a rhetorical question or two, a couple of closed questions….it can very quickly sound like you’re just peppering the prospect with probes and perceived pressure.
Can you get the prospect to open up without it appearing to be an interrogation where you are simply asking question after question?
Here are three things you can do to take the pressure off during a qualifying session:
Here you simply restate the objection or comment back to the prospect.
This shows you have been listening and are politely asking for more confirmation, clarity or detail.
So, if the prospect says “Your price is too high?”, many salespeople would ask what price would be acceptable, or for more details behind the comment.
Instead, simple respond by reflecting back what they have said.
They say “The price is too high!” You respond, “The price is too high?” with an inquisitive look.
This reflection encourages the prospect to give more details, embellish their remark and confirm the meaning behind the comment.
This is one of my favourites.
Depending on the tone, this can be said in a questioning way (with a slight inflection, meaning ‘please go on’), in a confirmation way (meaning you’ve really heard what they are saying), or in an emotionally-confirming way (meaning you empathise with the prospect’s words and feelings).
You need to use this sparingly and in a non-patronising way, conveying genuine interest in what the buyer is feeling and saying.
“Tell me more…”
Put simply, this is a request for more information and expansion on a point without being specific with a series of why, what, when or who questions.
The prospect can elaborate in whatever way they see necessary and it helps you see how the thought processes of the prospect are developing.
These three ways of encouraging progress in a conversation without being tied down by a specific questioning technique should enable you to find information in an exchange that adds no pressure to the situation.
Try one or more of these ideas out and see what responses you get.
Originally published: 12 April, 2016