Jerry was a talkative and like-able guy. Ever since grade school he was the class clown and involved in all school activities. He was told many times by his teachers, if he could make money using his mouth, he’d be a millionaire.
Fast forward 25 years. Jerry has gotten a job in car sales. He’s liked by all his comrades. He has a list of Facebook friends in the thousands. But, his career and his main relationship is in a major slump. His wife doesn’t talk to him much any more. She is too busy with her career. He is baffled by why his friend, Roger, always seems to be leading the sales chart at the dealership. Where has he gone wrong?
One day, as he’s watching another customer walk out the door, Jerry was baffled. He thought he had gotten along well with this customer. Why did they walk away? His sales manager walks up to him and asks what the customer was looking for? Jerry’s response was, “Oh, he was only kicking tires.”
Where did he go wrong? Many people, like Jerry think they can razzle-dazzle people with their conversation. They talk about themselves and go on endlessly about things the other person may not give 2 hoots about. They think they are controlling the conversation, but they are sadly mistaken. Likeability and being cool will only take you so far.
A sales transaction, like any relationship, involves forming a bond with your potential buyer or loved one. A good sales relationship is formed because your prospect believes the sales person cares about them enough to find out what it is they are looking for. A good sales person knows how to control the conversation, by asking good questions. Questions such as; what are they, the customer, looking for? What are they going to use it for? What features are important to them? What would things have to look like for them to make a purchase today?
Some people understand the idea of asking questions of their potential clients, but then they don’t listen to the answers. They are too busy thinking of the next thing they are going to say. The customer catches on to this very quickly and knows the sales person isn’t really listening to them. Effective questioning also involves feeding it back to the customer. Feeding it back and then refining their preferences down with more questions.
This technique doesn’t only apply to sales. Any relationship is a selling experience. Everyday, we sell people on our ideas, and our way of thinking. We sell our kids on being well behaved. We sell our love partners everyday on us. If I was going to give any relationship advice, I would say, ask more questions. Not accusing questions, but asking questions about why they like something, what they would like to do, how they want things to be, what’s important to them….and then shut up and listen.
I often hear from married people that their partner doesn’t communicate with them any more. I ask, what kind of questions are you asking? Are the questions which will give you more insight into what’s important to them?
If we would like to enjoy better relationships with our customers and our loved ones, we must learn the art of proper communication. Asking thought provoking questions and listening to the answers will turn more tire kickers into customers and our loved ones into avid fans. This is what we really want, isn’t it?
- Leadership & The Power of Listening (customerthink.com)
- Best Practice #44: Is good at asking questions as a means of facilitating every step in the sales process. (customerthink.com)
- Seven Ways to Build Trust in a Relationship (socyberty.com)
- 6 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Relationship (hellobeautiful.com)