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Start Your Search Engine and Let the Best Questions Win

Customers want answers, but they want great questions first. Conventional sales people also want answers, but unfortunately they want to sell first. You must always remember that you have to ask the right questions before you get the right answers.

Too many sales people are question impoverished. They use watered-down questions while they pump up their standardized, impersonal, product pitches.

Often they will start asking some obligatory questions, but they get inpatient because they want their voice back. They want to be in control and in charge of the outcome of the sales meeting. Hence, they inventory very little critical information from the customer.

Frequently, conventional sales people feel displaced and minimalized by the patient art of questioning and listening. It does not feel like moving forward. It does not feel like selling ( duh, that is its hidden advantage). Too often it feels to them like backpedaling. Asking questions feels risky because they believe they will lose momentum and open up the door for potential negative news.

Orthodox sales people generally like the A but not the Q in Q & A, because they are too preoccupied stumping their wares to be bothered with what they perceive as inconsequential questions.

If you are going to open your mouth and breathe, ask thought-provoking questions. Asking questions often says that you care and that you are more concerned with seeking to understand before being understood.

There is so much power in the art of questioning and listening in a world where everyone cannot stop talking and spinning. Intelligence gathering, through the act of questioning, will gain you more traction than intelligence proliferation through the act of yammering. So start your search engines and let the best questions win.

"Complexity generates contemplation; and contemplation kill sales. Simple ideas are self-evident. The most self-evident ideas are from questions that lead customers to their own ideas," says Scott Ginsberg. Your communication deepens with customers when you ask questions without the desire for your own personal advantage. As long as customers believe you are trying to gain an advantage, they will be more reluctant to share relevant information.

As you transition from loving to hear your own voice to loving to hear your customer's voice you will find that their story is far more compelling than your story.

Which comes first the chicken or the egg? In sales, which carries more weight, good questions or good answers? The way you answer this will determine your fate in how you prioritize and strategize your sales process.

Question or perish. Questions are the new answers in the information economy. Question, assess, listen, engage or go home!

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com