Since 1989, I’ve been writing about, teaching, and extolling the virtues of questions. Although I’ve developed a new form of question (the Facilitative Question) that uses Decision Facilitation and brain sequencing to help folks recognize all layers of criteria that need to be met to make a new decision
(Facilitative Questions don’t gather data: they help the brain think and are used in sequence to how brains decide. Example: How would you know when it was time to reconsider your hairstyle? teaches the brain how to think about When, If, Why, How, Who needs to be in the consideration process.)
and use conventional questions just to gather/share data, I recognize how important even conventional questions are in the sales process. So many sales people use questions manipulatively, as a way to open up the conversation so their solution will be an obvious answer.
Duane Sparks, developer of Action Selling, owner of The Sales Board (www.actionselling.com), cares about questions. He has a series of books that examine the aspect of questions: The Answer to Sales, Selling your Price, Masters of Loyalty, and Sales Strategy
Here is what Duane responded when I asked him about the importance of questions:
“Questioning is the heart and soul of my work. And, the thing that I place the most emphasis upon in the sales process. Today, in my opinion, it is the most artful part of the work that we do as salespeople. It has long ago replaced “gabbing” as the key characteristic of the effective salesperson. Mastery of Questioning is a life-long objective for those of us who get this at a deep level.
I believe that we earn the right to ask deep level Questions by asking entry level questions. Since most salespeople have the skills to ask entry level questions, I have focused on training salespeople on how to ask advanced, high-gain type of questions. ”
While I look forward to the possibility of having Duane add the use of some powerful Facilitative Questions that will help buyers recognize all of the buying criteria they need to address, and actually teach them how to bring aboard the rest of the buying decision team to help buying decisions get made quickly and with integrity, I want to complement Duane on his commitment to questions. Too few folks in sales are targeting their time on finding customers, influencing them, closing them, yadayada, and not enough on truly caring about their customers.
Duane is one of the good guys in sales. Take a look at his books, his assessment tools, his online programs, and his tips. You’ll learn a lot about the integrity of managing the solution placement end of the buying decision funnel.
1 thought on “Why Are Questions Important?”
As a salesperson, do you ask closed or open-ended questions? How effective are you in using the five critical selling skills to move the sale forward? You can assess your selling skills right now by going to Sparks's web site at http://www.actionselling.com. They have a free sales assessment that will show you your selling skills strengths and areas to improve. It also provides recommendations on how to improve your sales skills.