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Ask Follow-Up Questions before Shifting to Solution

A seller who has an intention – a true one – to understand a buyer’s needs before offering a solution will ask follow-up questions.Follow-Up Questions

The intention is what produces the right questions. The intention is what keeps you from leaping ahead to a solution that won't quite fit. There is no substitute for intention. There is no predetermined list of questions capable of masking true intention. Intent will show through. So think it through before defining it publicly. Once it’s been expressed to the buyer, stick to it to maintain your credibility and to build trust. Use follow-up questions to demonstrate how serious you are about truly understanding and meeting buyer needs.cover for site 2015

3 Reasons to Slow Down and Ask Follow-Up Questions

For sellers who believe every hint of an opportunity must be immediately addressed, here are three reassurances to help you wait patiently and ask follow-up questions before you shift into selling mode.

#1 Buyer needs do not evaporate in the course of a single sales meeting. Jotting down the clues you hear about potential sales opportunities will help you remember to come back to them after you’ve completed the interview or delivered on your stated intention. It is far better to come back to a potential buyer with follow-up questions about the need than it is to pounce on one need before you have all the information.

#2 The likelihood of making a sale improves when trust, credibility and relevance are established. Asking follow-up questions to reveal and understand the buyer’s needs do exactly that – build trust, demonstrate credibility and ensure relevance. The process of asking more questions will likely increase, not decrease, the chances you have of making a sale. You will not lose the opportunity by waiting until you’ve asked a few more questions.

#3: Following through on what you promised and behaving differently from other sellers is a surefire way to create value. This is unexpected and refreshing for the buyer. Good questions make the buyer think. When you are the one asking quality questions and making the buyer think, you are the one creating value. This differentiates you from all other sellers.

Questioning with strategic intent takes practice. Planning makes questions more purposeful and focused. Setting an intention keeps a seller on track and in alignment with the personal brand he or she would like to portray. Communicating the intention to the buyer sets the stage for asking questions to understand buyer needs.

Practice, planning and deliberate focus on your own intention will pay off in improved relationships and accelerated sales.

If you'd like to learn more about how to sequence ask follow-up questions, read DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected. It's based on 20+ years of field research with both buyers and sellers.

Next Steps:

  • To learn more about DISCOVER Questions® and how to get connected in meaningful ways with your buyers, order your copy of this bestseller from Amazon.com
  • When you need sales or management coaching, customized sales training, or a dynamic speaker call us at 408-779-PFPS or book an appointment with Deb.
  • Check out these resources for sales managers and front line sellers. New webinars, infographics, research, podcasts and more added every month!


The award-winning CONNECT2Sell Blog is for professional sellers who believe, as we do, that Every Sale Starts with a Connection.

Deb Calvert, “DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected” author and Top 50 Sales Influencer, is President of People First Productivity Solutions, a UC Berkeley instructor, and a former Sales/Training Director of a Fortune 500 media company. She speaks and writes about the Stop Selling & Start Leading movement and offers sales training, coaching and consulting as well as leadership development programs. She is certified as an executive and sales coach by the ICF and is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge®. Deb has worked in every sector and in 14 countries to build leadership capacity, team effectiveness and sales productivity with a “people first” approach.

Topics: asking questions, CONNECT2SELL Blog, DISCOVER Questions™, needs assessment, strategic intent

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