Last week, I wrote about the effectiveness of asking questions as a sales strategy. This week, I want to delve deeper into the purpose of asking questions for entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and anyone interested in selling products or services.
First of all, let me reiterate that asking questions is only half of the game. The other half is actually listening to a client’s answer. The purpose of asking questions is to uncover the valuable information that lies in those answers.
As you listen to a prospective client’s answers to your questions, you should be able to discover:
- Pain points and underlying concerns. These will help you understand what your prospective client wants immediately as well as what he or she needs in the long term. It will also help you avoid potential missteps down the road.
- Plans for the future. As you listen to a prospective client’s thoughts and desires, you’ll get an idea of where he or she envisions the business going in the future, which can help you secure ongoing work as you offer solutions that align with long-term goals.
- Priorities and desired outcomes. Establish a pattern of effective communication and ensure a smooth relationship by demonstrating at the beginning of your work together that you understand what matters most to your prospective clients.
- Basic personal information. Nobody exists in a vacuum, and by learning the basics of a prospective client’s personal life, you can deepen your relationship and do your job better. Offering extra help at a time when a client’s personal life is especially hectic, for example, shows that you support the entire client, not just his or her business.
During the sales process, asking questions is your opportunity to mine for gold in the form of invaluable information you can use to enhance your client relationships throughout its duration.
Asking questions not only demonstrates to your clients that you value a client’s thoughts, needs, and ideas, but also provides you with the information you need to ensure mutual satisfaction on everyone’s part.