Bankers Advertising Articles

Ask and You Will Receive

January 10, 2013

As salespeople, we have to have a multi-faceted skill set. We must possess organizational, presentation and time management skills, just to name a few. One skill that requires special attention is the ability to ask questions… not just any questions, but the right questions.
The better our questions, the better chance we have of getting the right answers from our customers and prospects. Asking questions will get us information, but developing the ability to ask the right questions will lead to better information, as well as help us establish rapport and trust with our customers.
The best questions to ask are open-ended questions. Questions that simply require a “yes” or “no,” as a rule, don’t take us anywhere as far as uncovering a customer’s true needs and wants. Open-ended questions get our customers to participate. The information received allows us, as promotional product consultants, to formulate a viable solution to their particular business opportunity.
These type of questions allow us to create a dialogue, an interchange that is more conversational as compared to an interrogation.
Is there a formula for structuring open-end questions? I believe the best method is the one entrenched with journalism students, early on in their education. The approach they are taught for effective questioning consists of the five W’s and How.

The five W’s are: Why, Who, What, When and Where. Following this outline will help with any customer, in any industry.

For example, when talking to a customer and probing for information, a line of questioning could be as follows:
Why is your new inventory tracking system being installed?
Who in your company will be involved in implementing your new inventory tracking system?
What are the key benefits to this new system that you would like to communicate to your stakeholders?
When will you need my proposal and product recommendations to help promote this new system?
Where do we go from here?
How much of your budget do I have to work with?

Obviously, each potential program invokes its own set of questions, and the time to start the questioning process is before we begin any work. Also, it is important to take the position that there are no stupid questions, as long as they are asked in a sincere manner.

It never fails that an innocent question will lead to an entirely different set of opportunities and possibilities, which change how the opportunity is approached and handled. It’s very rare that one individual has all the answers.

Naguib Mahfouz, a Nobel Prize winning author, put it this way, “You can tell whether a person is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a person is wise by his questions.”

-Steve Horner, MAS

Uncategorized — Marie Young @ 3:10 pm