To Get Better Answers, Ask Better Questions

What makes a good question? In sales, some would say a good question is one that is prepared in advance. Some would say a good question is one that craftily leads the buyer toward the close. Others still would say a good question is the one that forces the buyer to agree with the seller, even if on a small point.

These misunderstandings about questions push buyers away. That’s why none of these are good questions.

A good question is one that draws the buyer toward the seller. Good questions yield the type of information the seller was looking for and steer the conversation artfully to build rapport and trust.

Good questions are not scripted, robotic, crafty or manipulative. Instead, they are natural sounding and follow the logical course of the conversation. They are crafted to pinpoint, with precision, the exact sort of response a seller needs before proceeding.

Good questions are logically sequenced, too, starting broadly and then narrowing to become progressively more specific to the sales situation. As with any conversation, sellers are guided by their own curiosity and ask follow-up questions to learn more about key points offered by the buyer.

Good questions lead to good conversations. Good conversations build trust between buyers and sellers. Good questions go beyond making a good impression. They make a deep and lasting impression on the buyer, one that makes the seller stand out above all others.       

The same skills will serve you well in other settings, too. For example, asking good questions when interviewing to fill a job will give you a much stronger chance of selecting the best fit employee for the position. In fact, the best practices for asking questions apply in any setting where you need information and insights to proceed properly.

So why don’t more people ask good questions more often? It’s simply because we don’t pay near enough attention to our own purposes for asking questions. That’s why we end up on go-nowhere fishing expeditions, asking ill-crafted questions that bog down our conversations.  

It’s easy, though, to build skills for asking improved questions that yield much better information. Entrepreneurs, selling professionals and customer service personnel who master the use of eight distinct purposes for asking questions create value in every conversation. Used wisely, questions are potent connectors.

To learn more about the power of questions for building trust, download this free chapter from DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected. 


Deb Calvert is the author DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected, a 2013 finalist for Top Sales & Marketing Book, and President of People First Productivity Solutions.  

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