It is obvious that you should use questions when you want information to flow from the other person to you. It's not quite so obvious, but you can also use questions to make information or a viewpoint flow in the opposite direction, from you to the other person. Socrates used this technique of conveying information by asking questions so effectively that 2,000 years later we still refer to it as the “Socratic Method.”
Asking questions can be especially powerful when you are trying to persuade a buyer that the problem she faces is more serious than she thinks and that it warrants a solution now. Instead of telling the buyer “You have a problem here”, ask “Are you satisfied with…” or “Will you be able to compete effectively with your current equipment?” This is a good selling technique, since it allows the listener or buyer to reach the conclusion herself. Most of us like our own ideas more than those that are handed to us or imposed on us by someone else. Let the buyer think that the need for a solution is her idea, and she is more likely to buy.
Other Parts in this Quick Guide to Consultative Sales Calls Series:
- Notes on Persuasion
- Questions Don’t Just Ask—They Can Also Tell!
- Opening the Call Q & A
- Probing for Needs Q & A
- Sellers on Features and Benefits Q & A
- How to Prevent Objections
- Answering Different Types of Objections
- How to Handle Objections
- The Psychology of Closing Q & A