The Art of Effective Sales Questions in 4 Steps

picture of a question mark Art of Effective Sales Questions

The Art of Effective Sales Questions
The best sales people typically master the art of effective sales questions.  Being able to ask good questions is an art. Asking effective questions is a necessary skill for journalists, a developmental skill for salespeople and a desirable skill for conversationalists.

Insightful Sales Questions = Insightful Customer Conversations
As far as sales is concerned, the art of effective sales questions and good questioning skills are essential, value selling training experts say, for success. It is the basis for learning (and teaching) just exactly what your customers want and need.  Unfortunately, too many buyers report that sales professionals ask them a canned list of questions trying to close the deal.

Poor Sales Questions = Poor Customer Conversations
Anyone who has ever been on the other end of a high pressured sales conversation can attest that the “poor-questions approach” does not build trust, credibility or revenue.  In fact, poor sales questions typically lead to unqualified leads, missed opportunities and wasted effort.

Four Steps to Help Master the Art of Effective Sales Questions
If you want to have meaningful and insightful sales conversations with your target buyers master the art of effective sales questions by:

  1. Starting with Open-Ended Questions
    The most effective sales questions are open-ended.  Open-ended questions are those that cannot be answered with a simple (and unhelpful) “yes” or “no.” They require a more thoughtful answer.

    Try to always begin with the big six open-ended questions: Who?  What?  Where?  When?  How?  And our favorite – Why?  The best solution sellers are curious about how they can truly help their clients to succeed.   Open-ended questions promote a meaningful and client-centered conversation.

    Without them, it is difficult to uncover customer goals, problems, needs, objections, risks, and next steps in a way that makes sense.

  2. Being Clear and Concise
    Get right to the point. Don’t ramble. You will lose focus and your target will be confused.
  3. Actively Listening and Embracing Silence
    Do not interrupt.  Actively listen.  And be patient with silence by accepting the pause.

    Sometimes counting to 10 before speaking again can help you become more comfortable.  Your listener will soon fill it – hopefully with the answer you were looking for.

  4. Being Authentic and Client-Centered
    First, have your client’s best interests at heart.  Second, ask follow-up or clarifying questions if you do not understand what they are talking about – especially if it gives them a chance to be the expert and keep talking.

The Bottom Line
The better you become at listening and questioning, the more you help your customers to succeed.  The more you help your customers to succeed, the more you will sell.

To learn more about the art of effective sales questions, download 30 Sales Questions More Important than Budget When Selling Solutions

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