Last Updated Apr 11, 2008 8:01 AM EDT
You can't understand a prospect's true needs and desires without asking the right questions during your sales calls. Here are the seven keys to productive "information gathering" when you're speaking with a prospect:
- Plan the conversation. If you don't know what questions to ask, you won't discover... anything useful.
- Rehearse the conversation. Effective questioning requires the three "P's": practice, practice, practice.
- Relax during the conversation. Questions must flow naturally out of the conversation, not inserted as interruptions.
- Lead with open questions. Better to ask a leading question that's too general than one that solicits a one word answer.
- Shut your trap. During a sales call, your mouth should be moving less than half the time, at most.
- Listen; really listen. Listening, not asking, is the most important element of effective questioning.
- Don't rush the process. Effective questioning is 90 percent patience and only 10 percent chutzpah.