Question Your Business Development Questions

July 21, 2011

Ben Johnson once said “To speak and to speak well are two things.  A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.”  Many sales people do not ask the right questions when speaking during the prospect interview process, however effective questioning is critical to closing the deal.  Many sales representatives make the mistake of spouting off their product or service’s features and benefits at random which tends to bore the prospect and waste valuable time.

One of the many advantages of taking the Dale Carnegie How To Sell Like a Pro course  is learning and practicing a successful questioning model.  It is a checklist of key question types which enables sales professionals to discover the interest areas of buyers.  The information gathering process should be conversational and capture the details required to develop and present compelling solutions for the prospect of the hour.

There is no one-size-fits-all explanation for every customer and one of the greatest compliments a prospect can be given is the courtesy of asking the right questions and actually listening to the answers.  Understanding what the buyer’s current needs in a product or service are, but he or she is not receiving and the reasons why, enables sales professionals to present compelling solutions that are difficult to turn down.

There are four types of questions asked in order to ascertain the buyer’s gap or the difference between the benefits they are currently receiving and the benefits that they should receive.  They include:

  1. As-is Questions- help to determine the buyer’s current situation such as product specifications, influential decision-makers, current challenges or issues with the current product or service being used, etc.
  2. Should Be Questions- uncover the buyer’s vision of his or her operation at optimum performance by focusing on how the situation can be improved if we help the buyer solve his or her problems.
  3. Barrier Questions-identify the factors that prevent the buyer from achieving the ‘should-be’ or ideal state.
  4. Payout Questions- J.G Holland once said, “The secret of man’s success resides in his insight into the moods of people, and his fact in dealing with them.”  Payout questions clarify how the buyer and/or the organization will benefit from the solution.  Responses to these questions enable us to understand and appeal to the motivational reasons for buying, which are often personal.  Often times, answers to these questions enable us to uncover the emotional desires of the prospect, for example, wanting to spend more time with his or her family which could be accomplished with access to real-time data vs. waiting for reports to be batched and sent.

People buy from different perspectives and for different reasons.  By using an effective questioning model, true sales professionals ensure that they sell to people based on their needs and their points of view.  The questioning checklist is only one critical step of the Sales Advantage process which, once learned, has enable thousands of Dale Carnegie students to grow their sales exponentially.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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