We are now going to get surprisingly cultural, but it’s all in the name of selling more!
“I keep six honest serving men
(they taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”
What the very clever Rudyard Kipling was talking about was the ability to ask effective questions.
I am constantly keeping an eye out for what annoys customers when they are being sold to and the one that keeps popping up is ‘Not listening properly’. But of course, if you want to listen to a customer, you have to know what to ask them. These words to which Mr Kipling referred are, of course, ‘open’ questions. In other words, it is hard to answer briefly with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. When you are in front of a customer, talking to them on the phone, or even communicating virtually via email or social media, then you need to be able to ask effective questions or you won’t properly understand what is important to them. Of course you need to listen as well, or you may miss some brilliant answers, but if you’ve ever been in a conversation with a customer and frozen because you don’t know what to ask next, then try some of these:
What are your plans for your business?
What is important to you when choosing a supplier?
Why is this important to you?
Why are you considering using our product/service?
When do you need to implement this new solution?
When is the wedding/event?
How do you distribute your services?
How does poor delivery affect your business?
Where do people find out about you?
Where are the most likely areas for growth in your business?
Who are your best customers?
Who is your biggest competitor and why?
So next time you have a customer to speak to, why don’t you try using one of these wonderful open questions and see just how much information your customers give you!
Janet Efere has recently reached the finals of the APCTC Trainer of the year. If you enjoyed this blog, please vote for her here: