Open ended questions are a staple of any sales training program. They’re the questions that get prospects talking, the questions that uncover prospects needs and the questions which enable you to match those needs with your solution – and get the sale.
I remember on one of the first training courses I ever attended, way back in my career, the trainer read out the Rudyard Kipling poem “Six honest serving men” which sums up the importance of open ended questions – I’m guessing he wasn’t specifically referring to these being used as part of a sales call but, the sentiment still remains.
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who
As the poem covers, open ended questions are those that end with What, Why, When, How, Where and Who. To answer them – you HAVE to give a detailed response. A simple No or Yes just won’t wash.
As opposed to closed questions – which will command a Yes or No response and are brilliant for clarifying or summarising information, open ended questions have a wide variety of benefits within the sales call including, but not limited to:
- Finding out more detail
- Uncovering objections
- Getting a prospect’s true opinion on something
- Encouraging creativity and “out of the box” thinking
- Taking the focus off yourself and onto the prospect
- Exploring alternative solutions
- Keeping the conversation flowing
Now, for many of us, open questions aren’t a natural conversational pattern, even less so when we’re put into the potentially stressful situation of having to make a sale but, if I was to give one tip to somebody starting out in sales, I would say “ask more open ended questions”
It can even be utilised as part of your introduction – My name is xxxx, I work for xxxx, we help companies to save money on xxxx – can I just ask, what are your thoughts on that?……
We help businesses like you to….. – can I ask, if we could save you xxxx per year, how would you feel about having a short demo of our system?
Try it, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to your sales figures, your confidence as a salesperson and, in turn, your bank balance!
And if you need help with any aspects of sales and marketing for your business, do get in touch on 01384 566 078 – we love to talk!
Inspired Business Development Ltd