I am delighted to introduce my Guest Blog by Becky Whitaker from People Buy People
We all ask questions on a day to day basis at home and at work:
“What time will you be home for tea?”
“Have you done your homework?”
“When will that report be ready?”
“Have you got a budget?”
….but we rarely give thought to the type of questions they are and if they get the response we’re looking for.
Questions become even more important in a business sales environment. If you find yourself chatting to potential clients and attending initial meetings but never converting the business, the types of questions you’re asking could be part of the issue.
Why are questions so important?
The main purpose of questioning, except when we need specific information, is to uncover your prospective customer’s needs.
What is a need?
“A need is a consumer’s desire for a product or services specific benefit, whether that be functional or emotional.”
Or as I like to put it:
WHAT THEY REALLY, REALLY WANT TO ACHIEVE!
Types of questions:
If you’ve completed any form of sales training, you’ll probably already be aware that there are two well known types of questions; ‘Closed’ and ‘Open’. Closed usually solicit a one-word answer and are necessary to gain specific information about your client and are also beneficial when closing your sale. Open questions effectively help you uncover more information about your client and their needs, that will assist you in selling more effectively to them.
It is common for business owners to inadvertently turn open ended questions into closed by asking them in a certain way. For example, “Have you looked elsewhere?”, which could be responded to with a simple “Yes we have” but doesn’t uncover the information you might have been looking for.
When we’re speaking to prospective clients we should be using a good mix of closed and open-ended questions to help uncover their needs and sometimes we even unearth other details that the client may not even be aware of themselves, until they answer your question!
Open questions tend to start with Who, What, Where, How, When, Why. i.e. “Why are you looking to move house?” “When are you looking at going on holiday?” “Where else have you looked or enquired with”?
High Gain Questions
There is a 3rd question type that you may never have heard of, which was introduced to me during my hotel sales days, these are ‘High Gain’ questions. These are really thought provoking and make your customer stop and think, it’s the sort of question where you’d have a “Mmmm, now that’s a good question, let me think” type response to.
The other benefits of these type of questions are that they show your genuine interested in your potential client. They tend to draw out feelings and emotions, and as you uncover their ‘real’ needs you can present better and more relevant options to them and are, therefore, much more likely to achieve the sale. Even if you do not close the sale, chances are you’ll stick in your customers minds for future business or referrals.
So how about it? What high gain questions could you include? How about something like these?:
“Tell me, what are you looking to achieve from your event?” “How do you want your guests to feel?”
“Describe to me your perfect house?”
“Where have you been in the past and what did you like and dislike about your holiday destinations?” “Suppose money was no object, what would your perfect holiday look like?”
How could you adapt these to suit your business?
Call Scripts and Needs Analysis
It is recommended that no matter what your type of business you compile a set of questions you always use with clients. That way you don’t have to think on the spot and you know you have everything covered. So, brainstorm today what questions you need to ask your customers and what you could turn into open or high gain questions to help you stand out from the crowd.
Ask Becky a Question!
Becky has kindly agreed to be my guest at the next Bramhope Social Media Cafe on Monday 10th December. So if you’d like to ask her a question that is relevant to your business sales challenges, pop the date in your diary and your seat today by dropping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or hitting the ‘GOING’ button on my Facebook Event page.
A Bit More About Becky…..
In her own words, Becky “helps SMEs, businesses & individuals in the tourism & hospitality sector become more confident & efficient in sales & social media – to achieve better results & greater profits.”
If you’d like any advice on ‘Converting Enquiries into Sales’ or other aspects of the Sales process please feel free to get in touch.
Telephone: 07711 999123