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Questions are the MVP of Selling

by Shawn Karol Sandy, on Jun 20, 2021 3:26:00 PM

We talk quite a bit about asking questions in the sales process.

Ask better questions.

Don’t assume.

Listen, don’t tell.

And there is one more super-fantastic way “questions” can be the MVP of your sales game.

Ask questions about your prospect’s questions.


I started paying attention to this a few years ago.

As a prospective customer, when you ask a question, you (usually) get an answer.

But, what I found was that many times, a seller’s answers weren’t all the information I needed.

You get THEIR answer and then they move on to the next part of their pitch or process.

Really intelligent sellers listen to their buyers and they DON’T. KEEP. TALKING.

They follow up their answer or your question with another question.

You might do that too, but here’s where you go to next level genius on your part—ask questions about the question. Because:

  • How do you know you’ve answered the prospect’s question before you move on?
  • What if they asked this question because they didn’t know how to ask what they really wanted to know?
  • What if you don’t know why they asked that question?

Pausing your agenda to dig into your customers’ questions gives you a deeper understanding of where your customers are in their buying process, what they’re thinking, what’s important to them, and what they value most about your product, service, or process.

L-I-S-T-E-N to what they’re saying. Get them talking more by asking more questions to understand the implications of their questions.

Here are a few examples of how this plays out:

Training a fantastic group of campground/resort property managers this past week, we walked through training team members on taking calls from prospective customers. As part of the session, I had everyone in the room call a competing property and ask two questions. They took notes on their calls and returned to compare experiences. It was eye-opening and the exercise excellently illustrated the point I want to make.

The reason people call instead of booking online is that they have questions that they want a human to answer. They probably have more than one. They needed clarity or help to make their decision. The interaction with said human gives them WAY more information to help them make their decision than just the one question. They are imagining themselves at the property, envisioning the future results of their decision-making.

Here’s how the scenario played out when we called their competitors and asked questions.

This was your typical exchange:

Customer question: “What are the campground quiet hours?”

Campground Manager answer:“Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am.”

Customer: “Um, okay, thanks.”

Campground Manager answer: “Okay. Have a nice day.”

Why did the customer want to know about quiet hours? Did they want solitude and peace and quiet or are they planning a party?

The manager answered the question that was asked but did it really help the prospective customer?

Here’s what could be a better exchange:

Customer: “What are the campground quiet hours?”

Campground Manager answer: “Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am. Are you looking for quiet and solitude during your stay or are you looking for a place that’s amenable to entertaining with music or a group of friends?”

Customer:“Well, we really want to relax and have some peace and quiet.”

Campground Manager:“Okay, we have a few shady spots over by the lake that are quiet. How big is your RV or Trailer?”

And from there, it’s more questions, listening, and back and forth: “can I send you a map? Are you ready to lock down that great spot?”

Following up questions with more questions builds rapport and understanding and helps people make decisions. Without the follow-up questions, you don’t know where your customer’s head is at, what’s important to them, or when they have enough information or insights to make decisions.

Asking follow-up questions leads to stronger opportunities to close.

The same principles apply in Business to Business selling. 

Buyer: “How many users can I have under this license?”

Salespro: “You can have 5 users on the Pro license, the Commercial license lets you have up to 20 users.”

Buyer: “Okay.”

Salespro (moving on to his next step in his sales process): You can have 5 users on the Pro license, the Commercial license lets you have up to 20 users. Let’s set up the demo...”

But with just a few more questions:

Buyer: “How many users can I have under this license?”

Salespro: “You can have 5 users on the Pro license. How many are you thinking you’d need this year?”

Buyer: “Well, probably 4 this year but I know we’ll be adding 2 more in the next 9 months in different markets.”

Salespro: “Okay, well here’s how we could handle that situation...and what markets are you expanding into?”

When your prospect asks a question, there’s probably a whole box of unknown things they’re thinking about and your response might only be the tip of the iceberg.

Don’t be so arrogant as to think your answer is enough to move the buyer forward in their process or journey.

Follow up with more questions. Keep going so you understand:

  • WHY they asked the question
  • WHAT they really wanted to know and
  • HOW you can help them make their decisions.

Try not to be so anchored to what you want to TELL your customers. Listen and let them guide you so you can HELP them.

Are you ready to #GrowSmarter? Schedule a risk-free call with a Growth Guide today!
Topics:Professional DevelopmentCommunicationSales StrategySelling

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