“My sales team doesn’t ask enough questions.” This complaint consistently ranks in the top three voiced by CEO’s and sales managers. There are hundreds of sales books emphasizing the value of asking questions.
- Ask questions to better understand your customer’s needs.
- Ask questions to eliminate assumptions.
- Ask questions to build rapport.
So what’s the reason salespeople still prefer to present solutions rather than ask questions? Well, there are a couple of reasons.
#1: You. Most companies invest time and resources in product knowledge training, not active listening and questioning skills training. The salesperson knows the features and functions of your product or services; they don’t know the questions to ask during a sales meeting. An organization’s focus on product knowledge training creates ‘product dumpers’ not consultative salespeople.
Solution: Invest more time in teaching selling and influence skills. Product knowledge is important, however, without selling skills there is a very good chance you will educate your prospect and not persuade him to buy from you.
#2: Presenting is safe. Asking questions is not. When you ask a question, you aren’t guaranteed of the answer given by the prospect. This unpredictability is dangerous ground for a lot of salespeople. They’re worried they will look and sound stupid—and who wants to be put in that role?
Solution: Practice, practice, practice. Write out possible answers from your prospect and think about your response. Apply your impulse control skills. Slow down to think through the smart, compelling answers.
It’s time to get your “people” asking questions.