Ask the Right Questions to Close a Sale

June 2, 2011

Question the questions you plan to ask a prospect.

Effective questioning is not only important during the prospect interview process, rather it is critical to closing the deal.  Many sales representatives make the mistake of spouting off their product or service’s features and benefits at random which tends to bore the prospect and waste valuable time.

One of the many advantages of taking the Dale Carnegie Sales Advantage course is learning and practicing a successful questioning model.  An effective questioning model enables sales professionals to discover the interest areas of buyers.  The information gathering process should be conversational and capture the details required to develop and present compelling solutions for the prospect of the hour. 

There is no one-size-fits-all explanation for every customer.  Instead, understanding what the buyer needs in a product or service, but is not receiving and the reasons why, allows sales professionals to present solutions that are exactly what the buyer has been looking for. 

There are four types of questions asked in order to ascertain the buyer’s gap or the difference between the benefits they are currently receiving and the benefits that they should receive.  They include:

  1. As-is Questions- help to determine the buyer’s current situation such as product specifications, influential decision-makers, current challenges and/or issues with the current product or service being used, etc.
  2. Should Be Questions- uncover the buyer’s vision of his or her operation at optimum performance by focusing on how the situation can be improved if we help the buyer solve his or her problems.
  3. Barrier Questions-identify the factors that prevent the buyer from achieving the ‘should-be’ or ideal state. 
  4. Payout Questions- clarify how the buyer and/or the organization will benefit from the solution.  Responses to these questions enable us to understand and appeal to the motivational reasons for buying, which are often personal.

People buy from different perspectives and for different reasons.  By asking the right questions, true sales professionals ensure that they sell to people based on their needs and their points of view.  Effective questioning is only one critical step of the Sales Advantage process which, once learned, has enabled thousands of Dale Carnegie students to grow their sales exponentially. 

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credit:  Doug Caldwell

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