Open Ended Questions
An important sales skill to cultivate is the ability to ask open ended questions at the correct times in the sales process. When I first started as a salesman my mentor taught me that the best thing you could do was ask an open ended question, and over the years I have found reason after reason why he was right.
An Open Ended Question is often referred to as a “high value” question because it has the potential to create a learning experience for either you or your prospective customer, or in the case of really well structured questions both involved parties.
In order to know what an Open Ended Question is we have compiled a short list of examples of both open ended questions:
- What opportunities do you see on your horizon?
- What challenges do you see in making this happen?
- If we were to work together on this, what are the top two or three outcomes you’d like to see?
- How will you be measuring our success related to these outcomes?
- What’s the biggest risk for you to not make progress on this situation?
- What are the top priorities in your business at the moment?
Questions like those featured above are putting the purchasing power in the customers hand, but the success after the purchase is split evenly between their choice and your company. This is done by isolating the decision maker and placing it squarely on their shoulders using the directive “you”. Not only does this let them know they are responsible it also gives them drive to make a choice without feeling any pressure from you. Also when you assign success to both you and the customer they feel closer kinship with you as you are also attempting to achieve their success as well as your own.