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Question Based Selling: The First Question You Should Ask

question based sellingJim Kouzes and Barry Posner, my co-authors for Stop Selling & Start Leading, are the creators of the body of work known as The Leadership Challenge®. Jim and Barry have spent decades researching leadership and understanding exactly what it is that leaders do to make themselves more effective with their followers. As it turns out, these are the very same behaviors our buyers want us to exhibit more frequently.

In fact, two of the top 10 behaviors buyers want to see more frequently from sellers pertain to questions. So if you're engaging in question based selling, you're on the right track.

However, before you get started, there's something you should know. There's a very important question you need to ask yourself before you start asking buyers questions.

It's an important question. It's one that every leader must answer for himself or herself at some point. This means thinking of yourself as a leader. Stepping into your potential as a leader starts right here with thinking about yourself as one.

Question Based Selling: First Ask Yourself...

You see ... this is kind of interesting ... You may not know it, and you may not like it, but the truth is: You already are a leader.

If you're not leading on purpose, with the foreknowledge of being a leader, then you're probably leading people to someplace you don't necessarily want to take them. Asking yourself this critical question will help you work it all out. It will help you determine where you want to go.

Because you are already a leader, the right question to ask yourself is not “Will I make a difference?” That's not the question at all. You already do make a difference.

The real question is, “Am I making the difference I want to make?” Are you making the difference that you want to make or are you, instead, haphazardly making differences that either don't matter or take people the opposite way of where you want to go?

Ask yourself, “What difference do I want to make?” When you determine that, you'll have an internal compass that makes every decision easier. Your buyers will recognize that you stand for something, and they'll be attracted to your confidence and your consistency and your credibility -- which all stem from your deep-level understanding of the difference you want to make.

Then, when you ask buyers questions, your questions will be more purposeful. They will be stepping stones to the place you want to guide your buyers. They will have far greater impact and value for you and for your buyers. Unless you know where you're trying to go, you'll never get there.  

A Tool to Help You Find the Answers

To learn more about being a leader and more about the preferences of buyers, be sure to get a copy of Stop Selling & Start Leading. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Books-A-Million, or you can visit our website.

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The CONNECT2Sell Blog has been discontinued as our focus has shifted to leadership at every level. Research with buyers demonstrates that buyers respond favorably when sellers show up as leaders. If you'd like to step into your full potential as a leader (and boost sales!), take a look at our free and affordable courses on