How to ask questions to sell? This is an art! And it requires a series of techniques that we will explain today.
Knowing the BANT method, whose objective is to qualify leads based on the following criteria:
In order to determine whether a potential customer is really interested in the opportunity, we must ask a series of questions and ask ourselves whether the way of asking the questions determines the type of response given.
For this we have two types of classification:
- Binary, those whose only response options are Yes or No.
- Adaptive, those that do not limit the person to whom the question is asked.
What kind of questions should I ask?
Or in other words, what makes a good question? According to the authors of The art of powerful questions, a powerful question is:
- Generates curiosity in the listener.
- Stimulates thoughtful conversation.
- Brings underlying assumptions to the surface.
- Invites creativity and new possibilities.
- Generates energy and forward movement.
- Touches deep meaning.
- Evokes more questions.
So, the above list would not accommodate binary questions, as they limit us to choosing yes or no, without taking into account that there is a whole multiple scale of options. That is why it is necessary to analyze further, which of these two options is the best to help you sell.
Binary questions and their transformation for effectiveness
As famed CEO coach Dave Bailey explains, adaptive questions foster a growth mindset. Instead of focusing on Yes or No, they allow you to focus the question on where you want to get to, reflecting on the effort it will take to get there.
The idea is to propose a more creative search for answers and solutions, and not rely so much on guided answers with limited options.
For the BANT method to be effective, we must ask the right questions at the right time. Even if a prospect does not have a high rating on the scale, the sales process can still result in a purchase.
To this end, we propose the following examples for internal reflection, in which we can transform binary questions into adaptive ones to obtain more information and results, for example:
- Binary: Does this person have enough budget?
- Adaptive: What is the prospect’s budget and what can this person do to achieve it in order to reach his or her goal?
- Binary: Does this person have the authority to make decisions?
- Adaptive: What can this person do to be influential about this project?
- Binary: Does the prospect need the product?
- Adaptive: What is the prospect’s business need?
- Binary: Can he/she buy it now or does he/she want to buy it now?
- Adaptive: How soon will this person implement the solution to their business need?
Real questions you could ask your customers
Once we have internalized the correct way to formulate our questions, it is time to think of a real idea to achieve that effectiveness, so now you must take into account:
Instead of directly asking “What is your budget?”, some alternatives:
- What is the budget you would allocate to this solution?
- How much would you be willing to spend on similar products/services?
- How much are you currently spending on other solutions?
If you were a car salesman the first thing you would do when someone walked into your dealership would be to ask about their budget, right? Because you wouldn’t try to sell a Jaguar to someone who has the budget of a Honda.
Instead of asking “Who makes the decisions in your company?”, some alternatives:
- What is your contribution to the decision process?
- Which people on your team will use our product/service/solution?
- What are the top priorities when evaluating solutions?
- Do you think we should invite someone else to the meeting/convention?
Instead of focusing only on the decision maker, it will also be useful to ask about the end users, as they could influence the process.
Instead of asking “Do you need the product/service?”, some alternatives:
- What are the main challenges, pain points, and problems you are currently facing that you are anxious to solve?
- How much does this problem bother you on a scale of 1 to 10?
- What kind of solutions are you currently evaluating and how do you think it will benefit your organization?
You’re not selling, you’re problem solving. But you are wasting your time explaining your service or product to a customer who doesn’t really need it.
Instead of asking “When do you want to purchase the product/service?”, some alternatives:
- Do you have any time frame to start the project?
- What kind of time constraints are you working under?
- How long have you been looking for a solution?
This will give us a centralized idea of how much time we have to get a response, close the conversion and be able to manage this opportunity in a timely manner.
These questions will only be effective if we do not forget one of the basic principles, listening. It is essential to avoid our potential customer feeling questioned, as well as to create a real environment of trust.
What if you don’t have the opportunity to ask in person?
These days a lot of communication is conducted online, either by email or via LinkedIn. So we go on to do it through the Call To Action (CTA) or call to action.
Requesting immediate action from the interlocutors or visitors of a particular website through text, button or link, accompanying words that create a sense of urgency. This will be effective and will convert potential customers into final customers.
The brevity and directness of a well-written call to action will put the focus on what is important and eliminate any distractions. And, while we must make sure our CTA is concise, we can use either two simple words or several sentences.
Depending on the platform we use, the call to action may vary. That said, the best way to become good at something is to learn from others, so here we leave you with the following examples of CTAs for email and LinkedIn:
- Would you like to learn more?
- If you provide me with your email address I can send you a presentation, is that okay?
- How about scheduling a 10-minute call so I can tell you more?
- If you’re interested, I could explain more in a brief call. Is next Tuesday good for you?
- We have a lot more to tell you, are you interested in our service?
And speaking of the king of the devil, now let’s go to our CTA: Did you find this post useful?
If you want to continue learning different techniques or want to expand the information do not hesitate to continue browsing our blog.
We leave here other sources used (in addition to those already mentioned) for the writing of this article: