What makes a good question? In sales, some would say a good question is one that is prepared in advance. Some would say a good question is one that swiftly leads the buyer toward the close. Still others would say a good question is one that forces the buyer to agree with the seller, even if on a small point.
These misunderstandings about questions push buyers away. That’s why none of these are good questions. And question-based selling is only as effective as the questions you're asking.
So, What Is Good Question-Based Selling?
A good question is one that draws the buyer toward the seller. Good questions yield the type of information the seller is looking for. Good questions elegantly steer the conversation so it builds rapport and trust.
Good questions are not:
Instead, they are natural-sounding and follow the logical course of the conversation. They are designed to pinpoint, with precision, the exact sort of response a seller needs before proceeding.
Good questions are logically sequenced, too, starting broadly and then narrowing to become progressively more specific to the sales situation. As with any conversation, sellers are guided by their own curiosity and ask follow-up questions to learn more about key points offered by the buyer.
Good questions lead to good conversations and open, two-way dialogues. Good conversations build trust between buyers and sellers. Good questions go beyond making a good impression. They make a deep and lasting impression on the buyer, one that makes the seller stand out above all others.
The same skills will serve you well in other settings, too. Asking good questions when interviewing to fill a job will give managers a much stronger chance of selecting the best-fit employee for the position. In fact, the best practices for asking questions apply in any setting where you need information and insights to proceed properly.
Ask Questions With Purpose
So why don’t more people ask good questions more often? It’s simply because we don’t pay near enough attention to our own purposes for asking questions. That’s why we end up on go-nowhere fishing expeditions, asking ill-crafted questions that bog down our conversations.
It’s easy, though, to build skills for asking improved questions that yield much better information. Entrepreneurs, selling professionals, and customer service personnel who master the use of eight distinct purposes for asking questions create value in every conversation. Used wisely, questions are potent connectors.