• The Questioning part of the sales process is where you find out what the customer wants, needs, and desires. Once you know this you can proceed to actually sell to them!
Objectives of the session• When do we use Questioning?• Why we use questions• Understand when to use questions• What questions we use to open up the client & close the client• Types/Examples of questions that work in particular geographical locations• The funnel technique
When do we use Questioning?• Before we even engage in a pitch we need to believe that the questions we use will allow us to access information that will assist in closing the deal. Preparation – all questions must be prepared and be in front of you before we pick up the phone.• You must know to a certain extent what that company does and whom their likely to target. However do not fall into the trap of assuming you know all about their targets & market strategy before you call them.
When do we use Questioning?• Questions must be asked on EVERY call, callback, & during cheque chasing• Have your questions visible before EVERY call• Generally, at the end of your initial Sales pitch, it is time to begin questioning the prospect
“Successful people ask betterquestions and as a result, they get better answers” Anthony Robbins
Why do we use Questions?• Being able to ask the right questions and then use those answers is the surest way to close your prospects in a shortest amount of time• Remember a quick no is better than a long drawn out decision resulting in a No – questioning techniques will allow you to draw out the outcome• Working on the basis that you are dealing with the decision maker you must very quickly assess if they are a potential buyer or not. In other words, can their needs be met by the summit you have to offer. It may not always be obvious to the prospect that they can use your products but your industry experience tells you that they can. In this instance we are looking for an opportunity to uncover some needs. You cannot create needs - but you can uncover them.
Why do we use Questions?• The key to uncovering needs lies in good questioning techniques. Questioning is a skill that requires much practice and concentration but once mastered serves you well because it allows you to:
QUALIFY• Allows YOU to decide whether or not this person is serious about buying the product & if they are worthy of you sending them an email. Remember it is your time you are wasting buy sending emails to people who are not properly qualified. How interested are they?
SELL NOT TELLMost people trying to sell talk too much. "Theyre good talkers - they must besalespeople" or “they have the gift of the gab". Most prospects, at the sales stage,come to expect that a salesperson will probably talk at them, for too long andabout very little, especially their needs. You want to do the unexpected with yourprospects and sell not tell. By asking questions it gives the prospect time to speakand tell you about THEIR NEEDS.
LISTEN• If you are talking you are not listening! If you do not listen you will never find out enough information about the prospect or their needs. Once you have delivered your pitch Apply the 80/20 rule - you should use questioning techniques so that the prospect is doing 80% of the talking and you are only doing 20%.• Lots of sales people fall into the trap of answering there own questions with what they want to hear – remember ask a question then SHUT UP!
UNCOVER NEEDS• Rarely do you get information unless you ask for it. You need information to sell your summit and if they don’t buy now then look for future sales possibilities.• Skilful questioning means that you do not seem to be imposing on the prospect by asking too many questions.
CONTROLUsing questioning techniques you can control the prospect in almost anygiven situation. You can guide the prospect towards acceptance of yoursolution. Should you need to, you can use questioning techniques toregain control.
How to ask questions to get the buyer talking• So how do you get your prospect talking and telling you about their company, and their wants, needs, and desires. Use a question that encourages the buyer to open up and give you more than just a short answer. This is a great sales skill to have that will help you close more sales. Start your questions with, tell me about, or, give me an idea. How about, explain to me, and, bring me up to speed. It should be difficult to answer with a short sentence or just one word?
“To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered." John Ruskin
Group Exercise• In groups come up with 2-3 open ended questions that cannot be answered in 1 or 2 words.• To make it more relevant to APAC, we require 2-3 for EACH of the following locations: • Japan, Australia, APAC• Try start your questioning structure with, Tell me, Explain to me, Show me, describe how• Questions which you have found to brought you great success would be ideal!
Questioning technique structure• Sales questioning techniques require an effective structure. A structure that will give you all the answers and tell you what to sell to your prospect.• Such as the ‘funnel technique’
STEP ONE• The first step is to motivate the prospect into opening up & speaking to you. The questioning techniques start with a relaxed conversation; you want to stimulate them to talk. The first step of the sales questioning techniques encourages even the lowest responders to talk.• Everyone wants to talk about their own company & why they are the market leaders! Be careful not to sound too patronizing but top salespeople are genuinely interested to learn as much as they can about their client/prospects
Examples:• Tell me about your products/services as there seems to be a great deal of interest from our delegation in this area?• In Japan, we have found the DMs to be very visual so perhaps ask them to open up our website while we speak• How are you finding the marketplace at the moment?• In the credit crunch how do you see your company growing?• Have you attended an event like this before?• Tell me about what products/services you are currently promoting?• (Asian Summit) What countries are you focusing on?
STEP TWO• Now you have them relaxed, you can begin to probe for information - pegs to hang the sale on and find out their "hot buttons". You want to find out as much as possible without leading or influencing the prospect. You want to encourage them to talk. You could ask, for instance, How are your products/services different from XYZ or your competitors• What does the XYZ product/service do for your clients?" At the second step you will more likely than not get several pieces of valuable information. You must take notes because you may want to go through the "funnel" with each piece and maybe several times.
Examples• Explain to me about how your product would benefit one of our delegates? Describe the difference between your product & XYZ• Give me your opinion what CFOs/CIOs/CEOs (whoever the delegation represents) are looking for?• How long is your sales cycle?• How much is the product/service worth?• How much is one sales worth to you?• What is your decision making process?
STEP THREE• Once you have started to gather information and uncovered the "hot buttons" you use open leading questions to pin point specific areas that you want to explore, exploit or lead the prospect into – not everyone is going to buy for the same reason, e.g. HP might book purely to exclude IBM, one DM might book to meet an existing client
Examples• Closing questions:• If we can secure your position and in turn exclude the attendance of XYZ – Can we move ahead?• If XYZ delegates were present then is this something you would attend?• On a scale for 1-10 how hot are you – how do I get you to a 10?• What do I/you need to do at your/my end to make this a yes?
STEP FOUR• now you summarize using their words and information, to get their commitment of your understanding of the situation or their needs• Closed questions to confirm needs & close the sale
Examples• "Well, XYZ, we have established that you target CFO/CIO/CEO & that your products are a perfect fit for them – if the information backs up what we have discussed will you be going ahead?• Are you going ahead?• if the information back up what we have just discussed will this be something that you go ahead with?• Confirmation is simple, all that is required is for you to sign a one page booking form, are you able to sign and send that back to me in 10 minutes• Asking questions about the payment can also be used at this point:• who is the right person to speak to in accounts with regards to the payment?• 50% is due within 5 days, whom do we speak to with regards to this payment
Summary• Questioning using the funnel technique is one of the most powerful selling tools available to you. The key to its success is to practice using it. First of all work on your open questions and then start to close in on more closed questions• Prepare - Make sure you have them ALL in front of you before you pick up the phone• Follow the process and use the right questions at the right time• Understand what questions work best in which markets• Write down & take note of everything that has been said – it may not be a sale now but you can use the info to pitch and close the prospect in the future• Ask for the order! – you don’t ask you don’t get• The result will be MORE SALES!
“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever." Chinese proverb