Because we customize all our People First Productivity Solutions sales training workshops, we routinely survey participants prior to training. This gives participants a voice in shaping the focus and content of their training.
By asking a series of questions, we learn a great deal about the sales culture, practices and strengths of a team. We also learn about gaps and perceived limitations for each seller. This is all intentional, and the surveys are written to mine for this kind of information.
Surprisingly, there’s something more that comes from every survey we do. We didn’t set out to make this happen. It just did. People responded warmly, openly and with gratitude. Our training engagement levels, feedback scores, rate of skills application and number of social media followers all began to skyrocket. Training participants connected with us.
Perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, asking questions also yields these same benefits. It just hadn’t dawned on us that survey questions would have the same impact.
Quality questions always foster connections for these five reasons:
Quality questions demonstrate an interest in the person you are talking with. Sellers who talk about their own products and services inadvertently demonstrate that their only interest in the other person is whether or not they will buy. Sellers who talk about generic value or assumed benefits demonstrate that their interest is merely casual, perhaps even lazy. Real, genuine interest prompts us to explore what the other person is thinking and what matters most to them.
Quality questions build trust. We trust people who ask us questions and openly accept our opinions and input. We remain skeptical about those who proceed without checking in with us or checking on their own assumptions. Questions build trust by building mutual understanding.
Quality questions give you common ground and a foundation for a relationship. Only the shallowest of connections are facilitated by our online research about the buyers we call on. While you might be able to open a conversation on a common interest, cause or affiliation, you can’t construct a strong foundation on that common ground without questions. Questions personalize the connection and reveal deeper and more meaningful links.
Quality questions invite sharing and an open exchange. Questions promote sharing. Your questions signal your genuine interest and give permission for others to share. When they’ve shared with you, they’ll be more open and ready to what you have to share. Questions get the party started.
Quality questions stimulate thought and insights. As a seller, you don’t need to know all the answers. Insight selling doesn’t mean that all the insights are your own. Instead, you discover and co-create new insights in a rich dialogue with your buyer. When you ask thought-provoking questions, you bring information to the surface. That’s what leads to new insights and ideas.
All five of these connections come from asking QUALITY questions. So what’s a quality question? It’s one that comes from genuine interest in the other party and yields rich information in return. You can read more about our research on questions and how they help build buyer/seller connections in our bestselling book DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected.
This blog post appears as the CONNECT! Community’s emphasis this month on connecting with others. As a seller, continual focus on strengthening connections with buyers and others is an essential ingredient of success. For our regular features on connecting with buyers, check out CONNECT! Online Radio for Selling Professionals, read DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected or participate in CONNECT2Sell Training programs. Be sure to subscribe to the CONNECT2Sell Blog for weekly tips and techniques that will help you become the one seller buyers actually want to talk to.