Successful salespeople ask prospects “good” questions to move the sales conversion process along. When our prospect answers a “good” question, they give us clues to solve their problem and the keys to unlock the sale. Because of that, we should shut up and listen!

Every salesperson already knows what they know. Answers to “good” questions give the salesperson the opportunity to find out what their prospect knows.

The “good” question I ask clients most often is, “Why do you think you need new doors and windows?”

The answer to this one “good” question tells me what problem my potential client perceives is important enough to pay money to fix. The homeowner’s response to this one “good” question can tell me what features and benefits of my products and services are most important in their decision-making process. This is the information I need to provide the best solution for them and convert the sale — if I take the effort to listen closely to their answer.

True listening isn’t only hearing words, but also observing tone of voice, body language and facial expression. When we are diligent in maintaining a state of silence while our client speaks, we will improve our closure rates and average sale price. Here are rules to follow while listening to our prospect:

  • Don’t interrupt a client when they’re telling what solution is best for them;
  • Don’t tune out your client after they tell you the first reason they need you;
  • Avoid “active listening”;
  • Don’t ignore other decision-makers, and;
  • Listen with eyes and ears.

It may take time for a prospect to fully express themselves. Let them finish telling you what they are ready, willing and able to buy. There’s usually more than one reason a prospect feels a problem is big enough to spend money to fix. Although we may think we’re showing a prospect they’ve got our full attention with “active listening,” head-nods and grunts of acknowledgment can be off-putting and stop their dialogue. Other decision-makers — even silent ones — may also be giving decision-making clues. Prospects will speak verbally and non-verbally. Never ignore what they’re saying with facial expressions and body language.

After our prospects finish answering, we should maintain a state of silence for a moment, not only to allow the prospect time to finish telling their thoughts, but also to absorb the information we’ve just been given and consider our next step…

  • Ask a “good” question;
  • Listen closely;
  • Be quiet for a moment;
  • Absorb information;
  • Consider the next step;
  • Ask a follow-up question, and;
  • Present a solution.

Prospects will tell us what is most important to them when we ask “good” questions. Listen closely, absorb what they tell us, consider the next step and then act appropriately on the information to provide the best solution.

Follow-up Questions

Sometimes my clients give me all the information I need to convert the sale when I ask my favorite “good” question and provide them the opportunity to talk while I keep quiet. But sometimes, I need to ask a follow-up question to get the information I need.

My biggest follow-up question is just a variation of my favorite “good” question: “What do you want your new windows to do that the windows in your home now aren’t doing?”

Remember to interview a potential client as part of a natural conversation. Avoid an inquisition. Don’t interrogate them or make them feel like they’re back at school and being given a pop quiz.

Presenting the Best Solution

After we know our prospect’s biggest concerns, it is time to present them with the best solution to their problem. Show your client you’ve listened to their concerns, considered all of the solutions available and are now presenting them with the perfect solution. This is not to say we should give short shrift to all of the features and benefits we offer, but when we know our client’s hot buttons, we can and should press them.

Not coincidentally, the prospect who receives the perfect solution for them is not only more likely to buy, they also may pay more than they would for the imperfect solution provided by a salesperson who did not learn about their problem, but provided a cookie-cutter solution based upon assumptions and presented with a prepared script.

“Good” Questions = Better Solutions + Improved Closure Rates + Higher Average Sale Price + Better Client Satisfaction

So, asking “good” questions not only improves closure rates, it may also lead to higher average sales. Not only that, we can expect our client to experience better satisfaction with their home improvement project because we solved their particular problem in the best possible way.

Never forget that providing the best possible solution for your client should be the ultimate goal of every salesperson. When we achieve the goal of solving our clients’ problems in the best possible way, we get repeat sales and referrals for additional sales. We also get the satisfaction of a job well done.

So, the next time someone says, “I have a dumb question” and you automatically comment, “There are no dumb questions,” keep in mind that “good” questions are the opposite of “dumb” questions. … “Good” questions are thoughtful and thought-provoking.

The smart salesperson will learn to ask “good” questions and listen closely to their prospect’s answers in order to provide better solutions that improve closure rates, increase average sale price and provide more repeat sales and referrals…

Look for my next blog, “Be the Expert and Speak Up.”


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