How to Improve your Team’s Sales Questioning Skills?
The primary tool of every sales rep is the tiny opening in front of the face called a mouth. The words that come out of it can either destroy or create sales. Unfortunately, most reps have earned a reputation of talking too fast, too much and trying to ask questions that stray away from conversion.
Therefore, a Sales Manager’s responsibility is to teach their team how to use their words to find the best question that effectively builds a relationship with customers. If you teach your reps sales questioning skills, they’re likely to maintain control, draw out the exact solution prospects want, and steer emotions towards the purchase process.
Here are 5 quick tips to help your sales team find the best types of questions in every sales conversation:
#1 Ask Leading Questions to Gain Control
Leading questions stop potential clients from seizing control at the start of a sales conversation. Such questions act as conversation starters and should hook the client into the discussion.
A good starting point is to avoid the “how are you’s” and think outside the box with questions that shows you’ve done your homework. You can’t go wrong by asking questions about content they just published on their blog, something you saw on their LinkedIn profile, a post they made on social media, or a recent company milestone. The aim is to lead while the prospect follows.
#2 Ask Questions They Have Answers To
Before asking any question, ensure it’s one the prospect can provide answers to. For example, at SalesDeck, we provide a solution that helps sales professionals close deals over virtual calls. A good question our prospect named Matt can answer is: ” Most recruits take up to 3 months to close their first deal. Does it take that long in your company as well? Or is it shorter?
Since he’s a Sales Manager, it would be easier to provide answers than if we had asked him, ” What strategies are there to reduce ramp time” or ” What kind of tools do you need to improve sales readiness.”
In both cases, it’s possible Matt doesn’t know any tools or strategies that will help him achieve the benefits above, and at that point, he may feel threatened and uncomfortable around our rep.
#3 Ask Open-ended Questions, Over Closed-ended Ones
There are two types of questions to choose from: open and closed-ended questions.
With open-ended questions, you’re asking questions that require thoughts on the person’s path before they provide an answer. This question usually starts with initials like – why, what, when, who, where or how.
When you ask these questions, the prospect has to pause to look for the right information to provide. Examples of open-ended questions include:
- What’s the most important feature you need SalesDeck to provide?
- Why does it take too long for recruits to close their first deal?
- When is the right time for a business owner to hire their first sales rep?
Meanwhile, with close-ended, you’re asking questions that require a “Yes” or ‘No” response. The problem with this question type is that they hardly give insights into the client’s need and desire since it gives little room for expressions.
Sales reps should therefore opt for open-ended questions for conversation starters and pain-point discovery.
#4 Avoid Too Many Broad Questions
What does a doctor do when a patient reports in sick? He runs a diagnostic to gather information about the patient’s condition before asking specific leading questions. They won’t ask your age when the diagnosis suggests you have malaria or marital status when you’re diagnosed with arthritis.
This is because none of these questions zeros in on the exact problem the prospect has. Broad questions work the same way; they merely flirt around the surface without going deeper. Hence, they fail to move the conversation towards the path of conversion.
#5 Create a Questioning Funnel
Every question funnel starts with a general question and slowly digs into the specifics as the conversation goes deeper to provide more details. For instance, if you’re speaking to the CEO of a SaaS company, your questioning funnel can start with a general question like:
Q: What does your business do?
Which the entrepreneur answers:
A: We offer CRM software to marketing professionals
And it slowly progresses into the specifics like this:
Q: Interesting; how many sales professionals do you have on your team?
A: At the moment, we have 10 sales reps and one Manager
Q: What process do your reps use in closing clients, and who creates them?
A: The sales process is created by our Manager after testing and measuring the results it brings.
Q: What are the numbers you’re hitting with your process?
A: An average of 40 deals monthly
Q: That’s an average of 4 deals from each rep
A: Yes, and we want to help them increase the numbers. I heard you offer training programs to help our reps hit their quota. Your reviews are excellent, so I thought I should contact you and get more details.
As you can see from the conversation above, our funnel helped uncover the prospect’s struggles and made them admit they needed our help. Our question-asking technique helped us achieve two things: first, we aroused the prospect’s emotion and directed them towards the purchase, and secondly, they admitted ownership of their decision.
From our point of view, questions are meant to help you establish a bond before gaining control. They also provide the details you need to move the conversation forward. However, like any skill, questioning skills also require some practice to master. This is what separates mediocre sales reps from the top performers.
Interested in learning more about scaling your sales team while successfully maintaining your conversion rate, team motivation and engagement? At SaleDeck, we provide you with tools and resources to improve the efficiency of your sales team.