How skilled are your reps at asking questions of their buyers? How much time have you spent training and coaching your reps on the basic structures of questioning? Join me as I share the three fundamental skills of persuasive questioning…and how your reps can be asking better questions…so they can sell even more!
So how strong are the questioning skills of your sales reps when they're in front of customers? Hi, I'm Jim Pancero, helping you become a stronger leader of your sales team. And the reality is most salespeople, though they're good questioners, don't have good structure behind their questions. So a lot of times their sales calls are very successful because of the questions they ask. Other times, things don't go that well because if you don't have structure, you don't have consistency. So a great exercise for you as a manager is to walk through coaching and just reminding your sales people of the three structures of questioning skills.
The first structure of questioning skills, and this is foundation information, is talking about the difference between open and close-ended questions. An open-ended question is getting the customer to talk. So be asking, "What kind of challenges are you going through," would be an open-ended question. "How many people do you have here," is close-ended because it's a brief, simple, quick answer. The reality of selling is a funnel approach of selling is we want to start asking them open-ended questions and then move into close-ended as we get closer to learning and finding out what we need. Where your effectiveness of your team of asking open versus close-ended questions and even the order of the questions they should ask.
A second set of questioning to talk about is just the difference between a big picture versus detailed. See, the reality is there's different personalities in business today. Some people are very big picture-oriented. They just want the facts, get to the point quickly. Don't give me a lot of details in what you're saying. Other people are more detail-focused and to them, the details make up the substance of your answer. So we got to be able to judge where a customer is. If you look at them, big picture people tend to be louder. They tend to do more talking. They tend to have more pictures of their family in the office or things that they love to do.
Where if you have something that's much more detail-focused, and more task-focused, they're likely to be much more focused and they'll have a lot of graphs and charts on their desk. They won't have a lot of personal pictures on the wall because frankly it's none of your business. But the reality is we've got to judge where this person is and know, do we just want to ask them and talk in more of a big picture tone and get right to it? Or do we really need to grind through all the details of what we have and what we offer? This is a tough situation. It's a great discussion to have with your team of how do you tell the difference, and when do big picture discussions work best to detail.
With anybody, it always works best to start off with a big picture perspective. Let me give you an overview what we're talking about, and now let me answer your questions and be specific about the uniqueness of how this product or service can help you. The third type of questioning is just to focus on pain, uncovering pain. The reality is if a customer has no pain, there's going to be no sale. The only time customers buy something is when they have a pain they're trying to resolve. The pain of it's not working. The pain of it's too delayed coming from my other vendor. It's too much of a hassle dealing with them. There's all kinds of pain customers could have. We want to make sure through our questioning, we are able to identify where the customer's greatest pains are.