How to ask your prospects the unexpected questions that will get you a sale
We've probably all been there before in job interviews - when the interviewer suddenly steps away from the standard script and asks you a question out of left field that really puts you on the spot. It's an uncomfortable - but often liberating - experience. And here at Big Motoring World we'd suggest that it is a feeling that it can be useful to try and replicate in your sales prospects.
Why? Because by putting them in a situation they might not be expecting, and by asking them to think outside of their comfort zone for a moment, you can stimulate them to think more deeply about what their needs really are - and by extension, how you and your products or services can help them. Above all, asking unexpected questions sets you apart from the long queue of other salespeople who are standing patiently in line outside your prospect's door. The unexpected makes you memorable - your potential customer will remember how your question made them feel - and it may even elevate you in their eyes to the level of trusted adviser rather than ‘just another salesperson’. So, unexpected questions keep them focused on the here and now, and encourage them to explore their own needs more deeply. One of the best ways to start these kinds of interactions is to ask them, right at the start, what their objective is for the discussion - you might be surprised by what they're actually looking to get out of your conversation. You can then tailor your approach accordingly - based on their needs, rather than any pre-conceived ideas you might have.
It turns out that one of the most unusual questions you can ask is also one of the simplest: 'why?'. We've probably all had the experience of kids who first learn the power of this question, and then use it relentlessly until you can't take any more - but that's not what we're suggesting here. Instead, use 'why' as a simple way of responding to their answers in a direct way that encourages them to investigate their reasons more deeply for themselves. For example, when they say 'my boss wouldn't say yes to this', instead of instinctively plying them with examples of bosses who have said yes to your product and ended up satisfied, simply ask them 'why?'. It may turn out that there is an underlying issue, with a procurement process, or with previous suppliers, or even with a long-term strategy that you weren't aware of. It could prove to be crucial information. So, think on your feet, and always have a couple of different questioning angles ready to shake things up if you feel your prospect is starting to switch off. That unexpected question could be the key to your next sale.