In the absence of questioning, client needs are unknown, sellers make assumptions and there’s either a bad sale in the sense that it feels “pushy” with buyer’s remorse, or most likely there’s no sale at all.
The best advice for questioning is to be curious. Really dig deep to understand where your client is now and where they want to be. There’ll be a natural temptation to pounce on anything that matches what you’re selling, but you need to resist the temptation and question further.
Because by understanding more, you’ll do two things:
- You’ll increase the client’s level of trust in you as you’re focused on them.
- You’ll build a more complete picture of their world and what’s important, rather than a superficial snap-shot.
So what do you need to do?
- First of all, use the right questioning structure
- There’s open, closed and ajar questions
- Open questions are designed to open up the conversation and start with ‘What’, ‘How’ and ‘Why’
- Closed questions are great for summarising, clarifying and closing. They start with words like, ‘Do you’, ‘Have you’ and ‘Would you’
- Ajar questions are designed to get specific types of information. ‘Who’ for a person, ‘Where’ for a location and ‘When’ for a time.
You can open a question with, “Out of curiosity…”. So for example, if you’re not comfortable asking what budget your client has, you can soften it by asking, “Out of curiosity, what budget do you have in mind for this work?”
Remember that for questioning to be effective, you need to do two things:
- Shape the questions that get you the information you need
- Actively listen when your customer is talking