A good number of salespeople feel more comfortable talking than listening. They are so eager to promote the “superiority” of their product or service that they spend an inordinate amount of time pushing features and benefits with little awareness of what the prospect wants or needs.
Numerous studies have found that top tier sales professionals who ask the most relevant questions and actually listen to the answers (as opposed to thinking about what they will say next while the prospect is talking), enjoy the most success.
Most every selling situation involves uncovering information by asking questions. If you don’t uncover problems or needs and gain a better understanding of your prospect’s business processes, you will not get very far in any selling situation.
For examples of relevant questions to ask, it never hurts to borrow from the SPIN Selling “bible”.
Situation Question – Data gathering questions about facts and background.
Problem Questions – Explore problems, difficulties, and dissatisfactions.
Implication Questions – Explore the effects of the problems that you uncover
Need-Payoff Questions – Getting the customer to tell you the benefits your solution could offer them.
To paraphrase that old saying, no one ever learned anything by talking!
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