For those of you who follow my work, you are aware of my strong belief in developing an insatiable curiosity that will assist you in becoming innovative, prolific, and successful. In this post, I am going to breakdown a variety of closed-ended sales questions that you should avoid, followed by 6 open-ended sales questions that you should ask instead.
Think of adopting the practice of insatiable curiosity as becoming the equivalent of The Beatles, Steve Jobs, or Michael Jordan in whatever professional context you’re working.
Asking Open-Ended Sales Questions Builds Trust
You need to develop an insatiable curiosity in your sales process because this is what will allow you to ask your potential buyers what I call “hyper-open-ended questions.” When you ask hyper open-ended sales questions, you demonstrate to your potential clients that you care about what they have to say.
You open the door for them to tell you precisely what their professional mandates are, what their concerns are, and what they’re looking for—in short, having an insatiable curiosity and asking hyper, open-ended sales questions invite your target buyers to tell you everything you need to know in order to tailor your approach in a way that will best meet your buyer’s needs and that will put you in the best possible position to close the sale with excellence.
Demonstrate Real Interest
Throughout the process, you demonstrate a real interest and concern for your clients, which helps build rapport and makes it easy for them to tell you the information that will help you close the sale. Using this technique you remove yourself from the outdated, product-centric value proposition language that drives potential buyers away with its offensive sales stench by choosing to talk instead about what matters most to your buyers.
Maintaining an insatiable curiosity and asking hyper-open ended sales questions helps create a meaningful and professionally relevant dialogue rather than an abrasive sales pitch – this is one of the keys to becoming a modern sales professional working at the cutting edge of today’s marketplace.
What counts today is the ability to move away from a one-sided sales pitch or product demo and toward a dynamic dialogue with potential buyers. Seriously, would you prefer to smell like a sweet fragrance or the inside of a taxicab?
Utilizing hyper open-ended sales questions could be the tipping point.
Open-Ended vs Closed-Ended Questions
Let Your Buyer Speak
In fact, the ability to initiate and carry a meaningful dialogue with potential clients is so important that my consulting firm has begun keeping metrics on what we call “target talk time,” which represents the percentage of a sales meeting during which the target buyer speaks.
We’ve found that when the target talks for at least 30% of the meeting time, sales conversion rates improve dramatically.
Conversely, when target buyers talk less than 30% of the time, conversion rates suffer. That means that when you go into a meeting with a potential client, you need to be prepared to allow them to speak for at least a third of the time you’re meeting with them.
You need to facilitate this type of interactive discussion, and the best way to do this is to demonstrate that you have an insatiable curiosity to learn about your target’s professional mandates by asking them hyper-open-ended questions.
These types of conversations will ultimately set you up to close the sale by giving you a natural way to demonstrate your ability to address the very needs, desires, fears, or problems they described to you.
Their expressions of pain, uncertainty, and doubt, discovered in the meeting allow you to use your own buyer’s logic to justify a rational purchase rationale.
The more open ended sales questions you incorporate into your sales process, the more deals you will win!