4 Ways to Ensure Asking Questions is not an Interrogation
I recently talked about the need to use a checklist during your sales calls. A checklist of questions will help guide and bring purpose to your sales conversations, but it does bring a risk of sounding like an interrogation.
We discussed this issue in one of my recent Software Sales Bootcamps.
#1 Pay Attention
You must give your buyer a chance to answer questions, and you need to pay attention to their answers.
I suggest creating a checklist to have in front of you with spaces in between questions. When a buyer answers your questions, write it down!
I’m not telling you to capture every word, but jot down key points that you can refer back to, so that you are able to integrate your next questions in a very conversational way.
#2 Be Curious
You need to ask questions with genuine curiosity.
Reading questions from a page does not make for an engaged sales conversation if you’re not actually interested in the answers.
You need to make sure your beliefs align with the questions you are asking.
When you are preparing for your calls, go through your checklist of questions, and for each question, ask yourself, “Why is it that this question is in the best interest of both parties?”
You might even go so far as to ask yourself, “What would I be missing if I failed to ask a buyer this question?”
Here’s the key: you must answer these questions yourself and understand the intent of the questions. If you believe that the question you are asking will benefit both parties, you will signal that intent.
#3 Call It Out
You can also prepare your buyer by straight out telling them that you are going to ask a series of questions, and telling them your reason for doing so.
By preparing your buyer for what’s about to happen, you are starting to build a mutual agenda. This sets a context for what you’re doing and why.
#4 Be Empathetic
If you want someone to be vulnerable and open, then you must also be vulnerable.
If you can show understanding, and even share stories from your own experience that relates to what the buyer is experiencing, you start to build a relationship, and sit on the same side of the conversation, instead of being at opposite ends of the table.
Don’t take the idea of “challenging a buyer,” to the extreme that it will upset them. You can ask probing questions, but do it in a way that allows them to keep their self-esteem intact.
The Software Sales Bootcamp offers even more insights on an optimized approach to selling.