Why Sales Reps Should Stop Asking Leading Questions

Great Companies Sell Solutions by Focusing on Value.

Have you ever taken a sales call and automatically known that the sales rep was reading from a script? This is far too common. Sales reps have been taught to start off a conversation by asking a series of obvious leading questions so that they can properly tailor their pitch based on your needs. Unfortunately, this tactic is not sneaky and often feels like an interrogation. That being said, asking questions is crucial for a connection to occur, but it is possible accomplish this without a “60 Minutes” styled questions checklist. A robot could call five hundred people and ask each person the same thirty questions, but would the robot connect with any of those five hundred people? No. Robot’s can’t connect with people so why would you imitate one over the phone?

The ability to connect with prospects is what separates sales reps from sales pros

Avoid the obvious. Do not lead by asking questions you already know the answer to, or questions that are obviously manipulative. Instead, focus on what they hope to gain from your product or service. Focus on their needs. What do they hope to get out of your service? Why do they need this service now/later? These questions are more on the curious side as opposed to manipulative.

Avoid one-sided selling

Who enjoys being spoken over and told their wrong? I know it’s easy to get excited and start spouting out every single benefit you can think of to keep someone on the phone, but this kind of behavior does not help. Think about all of the times you’ve encountered a stereotypical seller that was way too aggressive, interrupted you, or wouldn’t take no for an answer? Was that fun? More importantly, did you buy anything? I’m guessing no because human beings do not enjoy interactions like that. HBR wrote a great article detailing how these behaviors effect us.

” Judith Glaser wrote “The Neurochemistry of Positive Conversations,” which highlights specific behaviors that contribute to negative chemical, or “cortisol-producing,” and positive chemical “oxytocin-producing” reactions in others. Among the behaviors that create significant negative impacts are being focused on convincing others and behaving like others don’t understand. Precisely the stereotypical behaviors that give sellers a bad name: being too aggressive, not listening, and going on and on about their offerings. Conversely, the behaviors that create a positive chemical impact include being concerned about others, stimulating discussions with genuine curiosity, and painting a picture of mutual success. Masters of the consultative sales approach apply these conversational techniques to their discussions with prospects and clients to create a collaborative dynamic with positive outcomes.”

Have a conversation

You’re still selling, but that doesn’t mean both parties can’t enjoy the interaction. In order to sell consultative services, building relationships is crucial, because in the end, trust is key, and if they don’t trust you, they won’t buy anything from you. By allowing the prospect to lead the discussion, and focusing on their goals and expectations, we can lead them to close by engaging in stimulating conversation and painting a picture of mutual success.

Read the full article here

Sales Reps, Stop Asking Leading Questions

Executive Summary Most executives recognize a need for their sales team to act as consultants and sell “solutions.” But many CEOs would be shocked at how poorly their sales teams execute on the strategy of consultative selling.