Asking the right questions is critical for each conversation you have with customers. Perhaps, all the sales training you have participated in have taught you that to sell to customers; you have to know their needs – that your goal is to solve their problems, rather than selling your products. We’d all probably acknowledge the wisdom of that statement.

However, there are times when we fail to follow that ideal. Sales reps are often told that the key to helping their clients is to “ask more questions”. But what if your sales team are not asking the right ones? You need to find it out before it affects your long-term business growth.

Biased Questioning in Sales

Many salespeople fall victim to biased or leading questions. Sometimes, a sales manager often commands their team to make a list of questions to extract information from their prospective clients – making the interaction more of an interrogation rather than a conversation.

One example of a leading question is “If I could show you something interesting, would you be interested?” This kind of question sways the respondent to answer one way or another because the wording is not neutral. It merely elicits top-of-mind responses that may not effectively represent – and might even cloud – the real issue.

Another example of a leading question is “Do you prefer spaghetti or lasagna?” This question excludes not only other types of pasta, but a preference for pizza, or discussion about the responder’s diet. But a question such as “What do you want for dinner that could be easily prepared?” might elicit a response that includes meals that the respondent wants to have.

Asking questions that are manipulative will only cause your customer to be sceptical of your intentions – and expertise. Instead, ask questions that demonstrate genuine curiosity, empathy, and desire to understand. Try to dig in deeper than uncovering a list of problems to be solved. Ask what the buyer hopes to achieve with your product or service, and why it is a priority now.

Tips to Ensure That You Are Asking the Right Questions


1. Use Appropriate Language

If you are creating a scientific survey for the public, do not use overly niche or technical terms reserved for the academic community. Make sure that your questions are clear and that your language reflects the kind of language your target group uses.

2. Don’t Ask Multiple Questions at Once

Asking multiple sales questions at once inherently contains assumptions. An effective line of questioning uncovers one piece of information at a time, then cultivate that information with more questions. Keep your questioning flexible so that you can easily pivot based on the answers your prospect provides, so that you can learn more about their situation.

3. Avoid Inherent Bias in Your Questions

As stated earlier leading questions can lead to biased answers because the wording used is not neutral. Ensure only to use neutral words and avoid judgmental adjectives in your question so that the customer can have the chance to provide answers that are fresh and as genuine as possible.


4. Provide Enough Options

Having limited options is another reason why salespeople do not get the data they want. One way to avoid this is to gather all of the information and opinions on the topic so that you can provide the customer with as many relevant options as possible. Also, make sure to provide the customer with the option to skip a question or to answer “This does not apply to me” so that they are not forced to provide fake answers.

5. Ask the Right People

You cannot have an accurate response if you ask the wrong people. For instance, if you are looking to improve the PWD facilities in your store, and your target group of people are those who have disabilities.

If you have proudly advertised your survey all over social media and gotten 5,000 responses, then think again. While 5,000 people may have answered your survey, it does not mean that all of them use social media.

Research your target group and understand what channels they are hanging out in. Then target the right people in the right places, and you are on your way to getting a data pool from the people that matter for your results.

Make sure your team knows and follows these tips when asking a prospective or existing customer, and you will be well on your way to collecting the right response. To learn more about our Business Coaching and Sales Training services, contact Healthy Business Builder today on 1300 833 574.


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