Do what top salespeople do: ask probing questions, and get the answers to seal the sales deal.

Sales pundits suggest salespeople must change the way they sell: stop pitching products, become consultants and strategic advisors. Let’s get real. Top salespeople don’t pitch. They never have, and never will.

Top salespeople ask good questions, they listen, ask more questions, and extract information and perspectives from the client where other less-experienced salespeople are clueless. They are confident in their solution and in their company’s ability to deliver.

Top salespeople are willing to walk away if it’s not a fit. Actually, they don’t walk away. They tap into their referral network and introduce a trusted resource that can help the client.

Hone Your Sales Skills

Many salespeople ask one or two questions and then assume that they have zeroed in on the client’s need and appropriate solution. This is rarely the case. These salespeople don’t take the time to really evaluate the client situation and understand and define the significant problem or need. This is a sales strategy doomed to fail.

  • How many salespeople in your company have the skills to conduct an interactive, engaging business conversation?
  • Have your salespeople outlined a questioning strategy and potential responses?

Many salespeople rely on PowerPoint presentations and product demos to make their points because they don’t know how to have a business conversation. They get anxious that the client may ask a question they can’t answer. So they play it safe, and get stuck in the depths of their cool technology.

Warm Up Your Sales Conversations

Think of questioning as “peeling the onion” to get to the core. Often, the buyer tells you what he wants—especially after he’s researched your website and checked you out through social media and customer communities. When you ask probing questions, frequently a different solution solves the problem. Here are some great sales questions to ask your prospect:

  • What is happening in your business that you want to change?
  • What is the impact if the status quo remains?
  • What’s working for you now?
  • What impact will this change have on your business?
  • How will you measure the success of this project?

Don’t stop with just these questions. When your sales prospect discusses his business challenges, keep asking questions to ensure both you and the prospect fully understand the problem and the impact.

Ask the Right Questions, Get the Right Business

Thoughtful, provocative, and probing questioning has a huge effect on your close rate—and on your sales revenue. When you question and understand the real problem, very often the scale of the project increases (more money), and the client gets a solution that will actually solve his problem and create demonstrable business results.

Your client looks good, the company is successful, and you’re top of the leader board. Ca-ching!

Deeper Questions, Bigger Rewards. Comment Here.

What’s the most engaging and interesting question you’ve asked a client (or have been asked by a client)? How did the answer, and your conversation, change the sales relationship? Join the conversation. Comment here.