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Hey guys, this is Steli Efti with Close.io. I want to talk about the art of asking powerful
questions and actually getting real answers to those questions. A lot of times when you
qualify a prospect, you have to ask a bunch of questions to truly understand who they
are and if they're a good fit and how to sell to them effectively. Many times when
I teach that asking questions is the most important skill in sales, people tell me,
“Yes Steli but people get annoyed when you ask them too many questions.”
I get this all the time where people just, “How can I ask questions without annoying
people, without getting to kind of a conversational dynamic that's not natural anymore and without
having the prospect actually raise up their defenses and their mental blocks because they're
feeling like they're being attacked by all these questions?” First, how to not ask
questions correctly and then get these kind of outcomes.
Too many times I see people asking questions to prospects as if they're reading it off
a list. As if it's irrelevant, what the answer is every question seems to just get
a checkpoint from the person asking it to get to the next question. You get people going,
“Dear prospect, tell me, how many people in your company would use our product?”
the prospect goes, “I don't know really maybe about five to 10 people.”
“Tell me, what kind of features are the most important ones for you?” “For us
it's really important that it has feature X, Y and Z.” “Cool, yeah we do provide
all these features.” “Dear prospect let me ask you another question?”
Do you see how the dynamic is fucked up? It doesn't matter what I answer, the person
just goes, “Sure, sure, great!” this is another bad thing to do.
After every answer you say, “Great,” or “Sure” or “Awesome,” or something.
It's like, “Really, is every answer I give awesome or great or are you just happy
that you got some answer and you just want to move on with your life?”
Male: It can be awesome and great. It could be, but it also could be that you
just say that to everything and everybody and you just want to get to the next question.
When you have a dynamic like that where somebody asked you questions and it doesn't seem
like they care about the answer, they just want to go on with the next question, you
feel like you're being interrogated. You feel like you're wasting time. It's a
pretty frustrating experience and it doesn't feel great to be that person that's being
asked all these questions. The other thing is when you're super authoritarian
and you just go, “How many people do you guys have over there?”
Calm down, bro. I'm not like … you're not police. I'm not at custody. I don't
have to answer all your questions. Chill out, maybe you want to ask in a way that suggests
that you're curios, that you care and that I have the power to answer or not answer.
Not that you are some authority and you're demanding answers. That's not going to work.
That's not going to be a pleasant experience. You want to have the mind frame that you truly
care to reach what I call full understanding. You want to fully understand the other person.
Think of it as in painting by numbers. It's not enough to just get an outline of who they
are. It's not enough to just get an outline of what you're painting, them just telling
you it's a house, it's a tree is not enough detail for you to truly paint the right picture.
You have to ask, what kind of tree? How big? What's going on in the surrounding? Are
we fully zoomed in on the tree or is it a landscape mode? What color schemes do we use?
You need to ask a lot more questions to get the full picture and to make sure that what
you're painting is accurate with what they're living or what they have in mind. What you
want to do is truly care. Caring is the number one mindset you need to apply and utilize
to ask questions in a way that people want to give you the right answers, and want to
give you as many answers as you need. You want to care. You want to care enough that
you really want to understand, not just care enough to ask the question but care enough
to desire understanding. You want to go deep and not stay at the surface
level. An easy way to give you a practical mode to think like that is that you want to
have to do as little as possible of interpreting what they're saying. When they say, “We
just care about ease of use.” You don't want to interpret and go, “Oh ease of use,
I know what they mean by that. They want something to be fast and the U.I. to be really flashy
and cool and fancy,” and make interpretations of what that word means.
Instead of doing that, you want to ask them, “Hey, what do you mean when you say ease
of use? What about it needs to be easy? What about the experience needs to be easy? Do
you have an example of an application or product or a service or something you're using that
hits that requirement for you, something that would demonstrate to me, “What do you mean
or what kind of products you're looking for when you're thinking about ease of use?
See what I'm doing right now. I'm going deep.
I'm not just staying at the surface, not just taking the first thing they say and run
with it, not just take the first thing they say and interpret and make interpretations
and extrapolations into what that might mean. I ask them, “What does that mean? Do you
have an example of that for me, something that would make it more practical, more exemplify
that mole? Rather than just taking your words, I want to find something in the real world
I can look at that demonstrates that to me. When you ask these questions, don't just
stay at the surface because it means you don't give a crap but actually go deep. I'll give
you an example. The two questions I asked earlier where I said, “How many people would
use this? What features or functionalities would be important?” let's rewind and
do this right. If I ask a prospect, “Hey, how many people in your team would actually
use our product?” the person goes, “I don't know, maybe four or five.” You go,
“Cool, tell me about these people. Have they been around in the company for a long
time? Have they just joined?” how long has it taken you to get this kind of a team? What's
the workflow like? Are they all working from the same location or different ones?
Let me ask you, moving forward in the next 12 months, is that team going to grow and
if so, how and to how many? What's the dynamic between the different people? If they're
all on the same team it's one thing but maybe there's a few people that are in sales
or a few people that are in support? How do they interact? How do they communicate, any
friction in the past, anything that we could do to anticipate the dynamics between the
team and how it relates to our product? See how I'm going deep in trying to truly understand
what that means? Why is it only five? How big is the entire company? “We're 5000
people.” “Wow, how come only five of 5000 will use our product?
Is it some kind of a task force, a special group? Is it a removed team that works on
something special or is it a small pilot test run that you would scale to thousands? Tell
me more about it. See how that information can completely change the picture of the information
that you just got? Go deep, ask follow up questions to get to true understanding because
once you understand someone you can effectively sell to them and effectively means get them
to buy quick if it's the right thing. Then when they buy, get them to get success out
of it and be happy and successful with your product or service.
The other thing is that because most conversations – most of the time when people ask us questions
they don't truly care about understanding. They only stay at the surface level. When
you do, you stand out? Nothing is more powerful in building rapport and building a relationship
than having someone feel truly understood by you. If somebody feels truly understood
by you they will trust you. They will feel better about you and about their relationship
with you? They will want to talk more to you and spend more time with you. We've all
felt that there are certain people that we feel truly understood by.
How do we feel about these people versus others that we think that they don't really get
who we are? They just know superficially who we are and what we need but not really deeply.
It makes a massive difference in the relationship you built. Last on the point of asking questions,
some of you might now ask, this is all good. It's good to know but how do I do this?
I'm not experienced in asking so many questions. I'm not experienced in truly going to the
depth of the question and reaching understanding. How can I make sure that I do this right?
The only way to get it right is to do it a lot and to practice.
How about recording some of your prospecting calls or qualifying calls or qualifying conversations?
How about practicing this with your team members and getting feedback from them? Hey, was this
a smooth experience? Did I ask you the right question? Did you feel that I truly cared
about you that I really wanted to understand you or did you just feel like I'm going
through a list? Was it annoying in any way? How about practicing it and getting feedback
from others and working on your craft to becoming a very powerful and effective question asker.
Being good at asking questions and knowing how to ask the right questions can set you
apart from all the rest in the market and can make a massive difference in how many
deals you end up closing or not closing. I would suggest that you practice asking the
right questions as much as you practice giving the best pitch or making the best demo presentation.
I hope this was useful. If you have any questions that you want to ask, any follow up questions
to this topic, send me an email to [email protected], write a comment, subscribe to a channel. Reach
out, tweet to us, let this conversation move forward and let's add to the conversation
and see if we get to a better and better understanding on how to become better at asking the right
questions and how we can all work on our craft or the conversation and become better at it
and more effective at it. All right, now go out there and get them
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How to ask powerful sales questions

29 Folder Collection
lawrence published on September 19, 2018
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