Gain a competitive edge using well crafted questions…
To get the answers you want from any discussion it is important to know that there are two fundamental types of question.
The open and the closed question.
Asking open questions will give you the information you need:
How many would you like?
What colour would you like them in?
How important is the quantity and the colour?
How do open questions influence your business discussions?
Open questions prove to the customer that you are genuinely interested in them, their business and working with them, influencing them to choose you and your offer.
It does pay however to ask the right open questions – beware of using the ‘why’ question to early.
If used too early the meeting can come across more like an interrogation and will put a lot of buyers off, try using ‘how’ instead of ‘why’. ‘How’ seems less aggressive.
“Why are you using them and not us?” can become “How did you come to use that supplier?”
Remember using open questions and gathering information is about building rapport and trust.
‘Why’ questions can be asked further into the discussion.
A closed question will normally result in a yes or no answer:
Would you like 50 of them?
And here is a stronger closed question: Would you like 50, 100 or 150 of them?
This question gives the buyer choices, but you still win, as they are still buying from you.
How many times do you use closed questions in your business discussions? And do they give your buyers choices?
Do you prepare a list of open and closed questions to ask in each meeting?
Do you have a fall-back position if things don’t go to plan, or have you lost business because you have been too pushy with the questions you ask?