Asking Questions – The Secret to Sales Success!

by Alan Dodson

When you are meeting with potential clients, do you spent more time telling them what you offer or asking questions about what they need and want?

If you were to record your typical consultation meeting, you’d probably find you are spending more time talking than you are asking questions and listening.

There is an old adage that states, “You have two ears and one mouth, therefore you should listen twice as much as you talk.” That is a very important fact to remember, and could be the difference between success and failure in sales.

Questions Are Your Most Valuable Tool

To increase your closing ratio, you must identify the needs, issues and concerns of a potential client.  The best way to achieve this is to ask questions, listen to the answers, and connect the answers to the needs – and the needs to your product and services.

Ask the Right Questions and the Question Right

There are several types of questioning types and techniques.  Let’s cover four types of questions that you can implement today.  They are C.O.R.D., which stands for:

  • Closed Questions
  • Open Questions
  • Reflective Questions
  • Direct-Agreement Questions.

Closed Questions

These are questions that have one-word or “closed” answers.  At the beginning of a sales consultation, these should be seldom used. Closed questions usually uncover facts but often times don’t give any additional information.

Let’s say you are trying to identify the buying criteria of a customer.  You can ask:  “When selecting the entertainment for your wedding, is price important to you?”

Although “Yes” will be the likely answer, you’ll then have to ask another question to identify other important criteria so, it would probably have been better to have asked an open question.

Open Questions

These questions entice a prospect to share information rather than just facts, and usually begin with “who, what, why, why, where and how.”

For example, when trying to identify buying criteria, you may want to say, “What is the most important part of your reception?” The answer to this question gives you more than just facts.  It gives you insights into “why” these criteria are important.

Open questions give you vital information and insight into how receptive someone is to you and your sales approach.  Is she eager or hesitant to give you information?  Open questions allow you to gauge this.

Reflective Questions

These are questions that “reflect” on previous answers.  These questions give the prospect a chance to expand or expound on something that was mentioned earlier.

She or he may have passed by a very important matter and you now want to go back and address it.  You can use a reflective question to gain vital information.

Reflective questions give you additional information.  By using them, you are also indicating to the customer that you are listening to her!

Direct Agreement Questions

These questions gain “agreement” from the customer.  These should be used when you are sure of the answer.  They are usually answered with one word – and that word is usually “Yes.”

After you have illustrated to a future client the customer that you can create the outcome she wants and fulfill her needs, you can ask a direct agreement question.

For example, “Sara, if I can deliver the entertainment that you want at a cost that is within you budget, are we ready to move forward?”  If she say’s “Yes,” then she is agreeing to do business with you if you can meet her fulfill your end of the bargain.

Questions are a sales professional’s best asset.  If you learn to ask the right question in the right way, you’re bookings are sure to be plentiful!

Got something to add that works for you?  Let me know!

Alan Dodson – “Wedding Wizard”

Alan Dodson is the Entertainment Director of An Unforgettable Event (ThoseWeddingPeople.com), and has been entertaining at and producing events since the early 1970’s. He has also worked as a voice talent on radio and television, nationwide. Alan specializes in weddings, and is a co-producer of the Tri Cities Bridal Show (tricitiesbridalshow.com) as well as producer of bi-monthly workshops for grooms (aPerfectGroom.com). He has written numerous articles for business and trade magazines, and has been a speaker on implementing social media into wedding DJ businesses. Alan is a founding officer of the E. TN Chapter of the ADJA (adja.org/chapters/etenn), where he now serves as Secretary. He maintains an informational wedding blog on his website (TopDiscJockey.com). Alan can be reached by email at alan@topdiscjockey.com. View posts by Alan.
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