The “Listen to Needs” step is a critical point in the sales process because the information you learn here helps you tailor benefits and build personal value in the product or service you’re selling. Additionally, understanding what your customer wants from an emotional perspective gives you powerful information to overcome any hesitation that may arise later in the process. But how do you get customer’s to open up and tell you what they want, why they want it and why it’s so important to them? What’s the secret to finding out what your customer really wants?
Open Ended Questions
The secret is simple. Use open ended questions which are questions that encourage the customer to talk and “open up”. Using open ended questions helps you uncover needs and “Hot Buttons” more easily. Open ended questions start with Who, What, Where, Why, When, How and “Tell me about”.
During the Listen to Needs step in the process your mission is to get the customer to open up and talk to you. When they are doing most of the talking, you’re doing a great job. When they don’t seem to be saying much or you’re doing most of the talking you may want to revist the types of questions you’re asking.
- Sales Person: How long has this been going on, I mean has it been going on for awhile?
- Customer: No
- Sales Person: So, it’s started just recently, has it been within the last month?
- Customer: No
- Sales Person: Oh, well has it been longer than a month or shorter than a month?
- Customer: Longer
Who is doing most of the talking? Right, the salesperson. Even though “How long has this been going on…” started out as an open ended question, the salesperson closed it by adding
“…has it been awhile?”.
COMPARE WITH THIS EXCHANGE:
- Sales Person: How long has this been going on?
- Customer: It’s been about three month but the thing is it’s getting worse and I’m really worried that it might cause me to lose my job.
Notice that the customer is doing most of the talking. Additionally, the salesperson learned a lot more, valuable information in a shorter period of time. 3 months, getting worse, worried about job.
Download the [following worksheet](https://docs.google.com/document/d/14GjOz8j9D-2OJdwyCqYbdXJM6gekXOpWV0CiWUBgMT4/edit#heading=h.xe9da7rxhbij) to enhance and develop your ability to use open ended questions.
Use Open Ended Questions = Learn More About Your Customer