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Questions Are Worthless Without This By Art Sobczak

At a party I was talking to a woman who asked five questions in a row. I began answering the first one, and could very well have said, “I believe you look and smell like a sweathog,” because she didn’t listen to the first, or any of my answers, since she replied, “Interesting,” and then began talking about herself. I watched and listened as she did that with several other people she met.

Sure, we all know we should ask questions. But the effort is wasted if they’re not asked in the right way, or if you don’t listen to the answers.

Key Sales Point:

When a listener hears a question, their mind immediately is conditioned to begin searching for answers. However, when several questions are posed in rapid-fire sequence, you leave the person confused as to which one they should answer first. And, some questions are not answered at all if you don’t give them an opportunity.

For example, read this scenario without stopping to think about each question, as if you were the person hearing the questions:

Caller: “And what do you feel your company needs most regarding boosting morale and enthusiasm? Do you think it would be compensation related… or maybe training? And how does that affect performance in all of the departments?”

Did you feel like a spinning top, rotating around trying to focus on the questions coming from all directions? Same thing happens with prospects and customers.

Effective Questioning Guidelines:

1. Ask one question at a time. If it’s not important enough to stand on its own, don’t ask it.

2. After you ask it, be quiet. If they don’t answer immediately, resist the urge to answer it for them or follow up with another one. They’re likely thinking about what they’re going to say.

3. After they apparently have finished, remain quiet for 1-2 more seconds. You might get additional information, and ensures you don’t interrupt.

4. Follow-up their answer with a related question. Don’t ping-pong around from subject to subject. For example, if they answered with, “I believe the main problem we have right now is a lack of motivation,” a logical next query would be, “Oh, what are some specific situations where you’ve seen a lack of motivation?”

5. Be confident in your questioning. One reason people ask multiple questions is that they aren’t comfortable asking questions. The only way you’re going to truly help someone is by finding out about them. You’re not intruding. You’re assisting.

Fielding multiple questions is confusing for the listener, and counterproductive for you. Ask one at a time, and listen!

Go and have your best week ever!

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing “rejection.” He presents public seminars and customizes programs for companies. Art has a number of books, CD’s to help sales reps. See free articles and back issues of his weekly emailed sales tips at www.BusinessByPhone.com. Also ask for a free copy of his monthly Telephone Prospecting and Selling Report newsletter by emailing ArtS@BusinessByPhone.com, or calling (402)895-9399

* Other Sales Training Articles from Art Sobczak …
Unbreakable Rules of Sales Calls
Communicate On Their Level, Not Yours