Answer Based Questioning

Have you ever begun to think to yourself while you are on the phone speaking with a prospect, “What am I going to say next?”

Try this approach. Base your next question upon their answer. First, listening to what someone is saying (especially a prospect) is the polite thing to do. Secondly, this strategy will enable you to keep your mind focused upon what the other person is saying rather than trying to think ahead as to what you are going to say next.

The idea is to have a conversation like you would when you are speaking with a friend. In fact, friendship and rapport are what you are trying to achieve.

Example:
Prospect: “We love our database management system.”
Sales Rep: “What do you like about it?” (Said with genuine interest)
Prospect: “It has quick access time to our data.”

Sales Rep: “I’d like to see if I can help you. How does the access time to your data compare to the accuracy of the data being requested and received?”
In the example, “We love our database management system” provides the basis for the next question “What do you like about it?” “It has quick access time to our data” provides the basis for the next question “How does the access time to your data compare to the accuracy of the data being requested and received?”
Have you ever given a friend advice on a specific product or service that they plan to buy? What happened? Did you try to force your friend to buy it? Probably not. Why?

People do not want to be forced into what to buy and spewing forth a bunch of features hoping something you say will stick is not selling. In other words, people do not like to be sold they like to buy. Our job is to listen and find out what people want and value so we can help them buy the way they want to buy.
I will never forget an experience in class once when I was trying to coach someone who would not read my notes or listen to the prospect. The person on the other end said, “This how we buy. You send me three packets of information and I will meet with my two managers to determine when and if we should meet.
What did the rep proceed to do? “Why don’t I drop by and deliver it to you personally?”

This rep was determined to get what he wanted which was a face-to-face appointment. Mr. Prospect replied, “Maybe you didn’t hear me. Send over three packages of information for review first and then we can set up a meeting.”
Again, the rep repeated, “I’ll be in the area on Monday, why don’t I drop by and give you the packets?” By this time, you can picture the steam coming out of the
prospect’s ears over the phone. He said, “Either you send me the three packages of information for my managers and I to review or we don’t do business”.

At this point, it began to sink in. This is how Mr. Prospect buys. After we hung up, I asked him why you kept asking to stop by. His response was I wanted to meet him and hand the information to him personally. Apparently, he was not listening to what was being said. Instead, he was concentrating on his agenda, which was to get an appointment at any cost. Well it may have cost him the sale.

Do you remember when you had a great buying experience? I will bet you dollars to donuts that you raved about it to your friends. You probably talked about what you really enjoyed most when using that product or service or what you liked about the person who helped you buy it and then recommend your friends go see this person when they needed the products she offered.

Think for a moment or two on how you go about buying things. How do you want people to treat you? What qualities do you like in a salesperson and which qualities aggravate you?

What is the experience you think of, when you enjoyed buying a specific product or service? Remember that people do not like to be sold, they like to buy. Again, our job is to listen and find out what people want and value so we can help them buy the way they want to buy which may not necessarily be the way we want to sell. A great salesperson’s job is to deliver great sales experiences by asking questions, listening and creating a two-way conversation, not a one-way monologue.

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