Because asking good questions is such an integral part of good selling I’ve given the matter a lot of study and thought over the years. I’ve boiled down all that knowledge into three basic guidelines.
Guideline #1. Establish a bond before you attempt to control the process with questions. Establishing rapport is essential because people want to do business with people they like and trust. They’ll never get to the trust issue if they don’t like you. There’s no need (or reason) to attempt to become “best buddies” on the spot, but it is important that your prospect comes to like you very early in the process. This is one of the reasons for the brief chit chat that takes place before the selling begins.
Guideline #2. Don’t allow a prospective client to think too long. Too often those nasty negativity demons creep in and start jamming up the works. Keeping up the pace without becoming pushy is an art. Practice, practice, practice until you can keep things moving, moving, moving toward a successful conclusion.
Guideline #3. Make decisions for your potential clients. You have a lot of different products to offer and going through the details of each one would be too time-consuming. The sale could “die on the vine” before you come to the ideal product for that individual, family or organization in that manner. Asking questions provides the information you need to eliminate the products that don’t fit those potential client’s needs. For example, if he or she has some credit challenges, you may make the decision to create a “get out of debt” plan rather than an investment plan.
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