Question Designing Technique
S: Win-win sales technology is based on the fact that the seller asks the buyer a lot of questions and collects his answers. But how to ask the questions properly? Do we need to memorize them, or could they be asked differently each time?
T: Any question could be asked in different ways: as a closed question that assumes “yes” or “no” answer, as an open question that requires a detailed answer, or as an alternative question where several alternative answers are proposed within the question. If you understand which answer you need to get, you can choose the form of question.
What questions should you ask? Win-win sales tools and algorithms recommend which questions and in what sequence should be asked. Each time, depending on the situation, these questions could be formulated in different ways. Take, for example, a question from the Trouble Revealing Algorithm about what trouble the buyer fears.
If the buyer has already expressed his concern, you can ask a closed question: “You said that you do not have a place in the warehouse to place our goods. Does it stop you from buying it?” The answer is usually “yes,” although it may be “no”: this fear is not the main reason preventing him from buying your product. Both answers carry the information you need.
If the buyer has not yet expressed his concern, you should ask an open question: “So, what prevents you from buying our goods?” In this case, you should carefully listen to the detailed answer. This is exactly what you need.
If the buyer says that something does not suit him but does not specify his concern, you can ask an alternative question: “So, what prevents you from buying our product: its price, payment terms or any problems with the product itself?” Next, it will be possible to specify the buyer’s fear.
As you could see, the optimal form of the question depends on what the buyer told you earlier. However, the essence of the matter remains the same.
The question can be formulated in different ways: as a question, as a statement or as a recommendation.
The question “as a question” is, of course, a tautology. This refers to the question in one sentence, for example, “What trouble will happen to the company if you still buy our product, regardless of your concern?”
The question “as a statement” sounds like, “So, if you buy our product, despite the concern, the company faces a big trouble. Which one?”
The question “as a recommendation” is, “In order to understand why this concern is stopping you from buying our product, we need to find out what troubles your company faces due to this purchase.”
The same question but asked in different ways. Look for the wording that you feel is more natural, take it as your starting point. But you should be fluent with other wordings, too, and use them to enrich the conversation.
There are several common mistakes that happen while asking the questions. Nikolay Rysyov describes them this way:
The first mistake is that after a question is asked, there is no pause. Well, think for yourself, you ask a question and do not provide time for his answer, you begin to immediately say something else. Why did you ask him, then? To show that you can ask questions? The buyer knows that. Pause after the question. A pause makes the situation significant and important. Then, during a pause, the buyer really thinks what to answer. In addition, during a pause, you can think and observe the buyer. Take a break.
The second mistake happens when two or more questions are asked at once. Well, if you do it intentionally, I understand you, that means it should be such, but more often than not several questions are asked rather from inability than from knowledge. By asking two questions at once, you give the buyer the opportunity to answer the question that is more convenient for him. Usually, the question which is further from sale is convenient for him. Yes, it is so. By asking question after question and providing the opportunity to answer each of them, you create an atmosphere of good business communication, show your professionalism.
The third common mistake is that you ask a question and then answer it. A one-man theater is good when it is planned. Sellers often respond themselves from excitement and fear that the buyer will say something terrible. But your interlocutor cannot say anything terrible... Understand, you can answer your own question not so favorably for yourself compared to how the client can answer it... Offering your options, you are partly talking not with the buyer, but with his “copy” that sits in your head. Talk with the buyer, it is much more interesting.
The fourth mistake is to ask a question, listen to half the answer, think that you have grasped the whole point, and again start speaking. In this case, you only heard half, and you thought of the second part, but your assumptions as to what the client should say in the future may be incorrect. Can you imagine? Wrong answer. Let the buyer finish his talk. In addition, he may be offended by thinking that you are not particularly interested in what you ask.
The fifth mistake is to ask the question in an uncertain voice, as if you do not know whether it is really worth asking. Thus, you can cause righteous anger, “Why, in fact, do you ask this?” Ask a question in a calm and interested voice. Be on equal terms with the buyer, show maximum respect for him.
And the sixth mistake happens when questions are not asked. Well, there’s nothing to talk about.
Exactly! You need to know these mistakes, carefully monitor yourself and learn to avoid them.
Orientation in the Client | 13 Dialogues on Win-Win Sales | Active Listening Techniques