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The art of selling - Questions

Updated on August 3, 2010

One of the key elements of becoming a succesful saleperson is having the ability to find out what the buyer wants and why he wants it. Your products or services may be fantastic but if all you do is talk about them and their benefits your doing 2 things: spamming the buyer and working far to hard! For example, a new mobile phone might have a fantastic camera, internet connection, games, and a mp3 player... all for the just ££$$$! I bought a phone recently and the most important element for me mp3 quality playback/storage etc. The other features were irrelivant. So, why would I want a sales person  to talk to me for 20 minutes about the camera or video quality on a phone with inferior playback? However good these features are, and regardless of the quality of the phone I would be put off buying from this person! All he or she would need to do was ask me what I was looking for.

Ask what the buyer wants and then give it to them!  

How do you find out the information? Ask! What kind of questions? Questions that prompt the buyer into talking about what he want!

Closed v Open Questions.

Closed questionsare those that can be asnwered using a yes or no answer. Would you like to buy a phone? Can I show you our range of phones? Do you need help? Do you have time to talk? All of these questions can be answered 'no' and then where does the salesperson go?

Open questionsforce the buyer away from giving yes/no answers. What type of phone are you looking to buy? What features are important?  Regardless of the answer the saleperson should be able to follow up with another question. Keep going until you know exactly what the buyer is looking for.

eg. What kind of phone are you looking for?  -  'Not sure'. What features are important?  -  'A good camera'. These phone all have a high quality camera, what else are you looking for from a the phone?    -  'I would like it to play music'  Ok the best phones we have are these, if however your looking for something a little less pricey then we have those over there. What kind of price are you looking for?

Not only is the saleperson talking about the specific features the buyer wants but the saleperson is also allowing the buyer to confirm he is willing to make a purchase!

This technique also works on telesales regardless if it is B2C or B2B. For eample, when talking to am IT manager of a large company about there communications system - What is your current system? Who do you currently use? To what extent have you looked into ... (VOIP for instance). What backup suppliers do you have in place? What issues do you have with the system? In an ideal world what would you change about the system? When do you review the suppliers?

Of course you may not get the ideal response to all these questions but what you need to try and do is find out what the business/personal needs are. Then you can tailor your pitch to those needs.

Of course there are other types of questions which can be of great help but as a start using open questions should vastly improve performance!


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    • amillar profile image

      amillar 7 years ago from Scotland, UK

      This is very useful info. Another golden rule in selling is listen. Listen for what the customer want's and focus on that. Then listen for the buying signals - for example, "How much is it? When can I have it?"

      Good hub.

    • profile image

      mia79gbr 7 years ago

      Great article. I had something similar at my gym recently. The salesperson was traying to say how cheap this gym was compared to another - I wasn't interested in the other gym or it's pricing - I just wanted to know what I THIS gym could do for me. He was trying to sell to me on irrelevant points!! Grr!

    • profile image

      hubpageswriter 7 years ago

      Cool hub.