Asking questions is taking advantage of the opportunity to become enlightened.  Questioning skills are critical to developing a deeper relationship with prospects and clients.  Questioning opens the door to the logical and emotional side of selling.

The types of questions we can ask include:
-    Past and current conditions
-    Future goals
-    Opportunities
-    Challenges and risks
-    Emotional needs

In all, there are over thirty types of questions we can ask to obtain critical information to assist our prospects and clients.  Please feel free to reach out to us to learn more.  

Ninety percent of all sales people only utilize the first two types of questions listed above.  Sad, but true.

Right now, challenge yourself to write down as many questions you use with prospects and clients.  You should be able to raise twenty-five quickly.  If not, spend more time on developing your questioning skills.  Doing so enlightens you and your prospects to mutually beneficial opportunities.

"Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival". 
W. Edwards Deming



Several years ago, a client invited me to sit in on a meeting with the competition.  I gladly accepted.  They had a piece of my client's business.  Before the meeting, I recommended that my client keep that part of the business with the competition because it was the right thing to do.

The two individuals from the competition, each with nearly twenty years of selling experience, started the meeting without any clear direction.  Between the two, neither was ready to begin the meeting properly.  After an amusing five minutes, I took control of the meeting by using an agenda and never looked back.

The topics on the agenda included:
          -  Purpose of the meeting
          -  Review of current conditions
          -  Review of goals given current environment
          -  Opportunities available given any new information
          -  Challenges and risks
          -  Other Topics
          -  Actions based on the conversation

Be professional, plan your next meeting with the use of an agenda.  Your professionalism will be noticed by your client.  At the conclusion of the meeting, on the way out the door, my client reaffirmed her loyalty and commitment to me as a result of the experience.

"Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory."
-Gen. George S. Patton

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Sell The Way They Want To Buy

A fellow sales consultant gave me the following quote about selling a product or service to an individual:

"Every time a prospect opens their mouth, they are telling you exactly how to close the sale if you know what to do with what they are telling you."

You haven't earned the right to sell until you have all the information you need.

Quite simply listen!


"He that can have patience can have what he wants."

- Benjamin Franklin


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Emotional Questions

Asking emotional questions in the questioning phase, in a proper manner, helps to identify what is truly important to the decision maker.  To know more about the personal side of the decision maker will help you to tailor the solution for the company and at the same time help the decision maker in achieving their personal and professional goals.  You sell not only to a company but to an individual or a group of individuals.

Ask questions that identify the feelings a person will have if a project is successful.  What benefit will they and others around them derive from a successful project?  What will it mean to them personally?  Take it deeper when they say more money, more time, better allocation of resources.  Drill deeper! “What are they going to do with it?”  By doing so, you are differentiating yourself from the competition and demonstrate an interest in their personal goals.

Read a book on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or a book on the emotional needs of individuals.  Discover the emotional states we live in and how they motivate us each and every day to do what we do.  Taping into these emotional states will move people to act quickly!

“The greatest secret in selling: Show people what they want most, and they will move heaven and earth to get it.”
-Frank Bettger


Conversation or Interrogation?

Right now, write down all your very best sales questions on a legal pad.  Don’t continue reading until your done.

Look at your questions and see how many would be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Those questions, with yes or no answers, are known as “closed-ended” questions. While closed-ended questions serve an important purpose, we need open-ended questions to discover important information allowing us to move the sales process forward.

If more than 20% of your questions are closed-ended questions you are probably performing an interrogation and not having a conversation.

“Open” your questions and allow the prospect or client to elaborate on their response.  "Open" your questions by beginning a sentence with who, what, where, when, and how.  By doing so, you will learn how to better serve your prospects needs.

“Always ask who, what, where, when, why and how.”
-Emil Everett


Define Your Leadership Style

Recently a group of executives defined what they said were strong traits and attributes of a leader.  What would you add to this list?  Which ones could you embrace more?  Which ones do you need to develop?  How would you know, from the ones you select, that you are being effective implementing that trait or attribute?  Select, implement, and review your success.  

Big Dreamer
Forward thinking
Intentional thinker
Look outward
Not afraid to fail
Nothing is impossible
Risk taker
Shares vision
Strategic thinker


Respond Appropriately

“So Ted, how is your relationship with your current broker?” “Terrible” he responded.  “Great!” I said, “How much did you lose in the last downturn?” “A lot” he responded.  “Great!” I said. “Are you looking to move your assets soon based on the poor performance?”  “Yes,” he responded.  “Great!” I said. 

“Great” were my responses in one of my very first sales.  I didn’t know I my responses were inappropriate until Ted told me after the sale.  Needless to say, I was embarrassed.  Why?  I took pleasure in his responses (pain).

When having a conversation listen to yourself.  How would you feel if someone responded to you the way you were responding?  Be wise to your responses and act accordingly.   Your response may be just what gets you the sale.

Today, be extra sensitive to your responses or try new responses to see what works best for you.

“Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, and fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.” 
-Bruce Barton