Sales: Sell by asking

Ellis Bardsley Action Coach

Ellis Bardsley says asking questions improves customer relationships

Expert: Ellis Bardsley

Company: ActionCoach

Background: More than 20 years spent running businesses and managing brands, serving the independent, small and medium business owner. Now Certified Practicing Business Coach with ActionCoach

When it comes to increasing sales, many businesses look to their marketing to bring in more leads. What is often overlooked is that they may have enough leads, but their sales process is not converting enough of these leads into paying customers. So how do we increase our conversion rates?

Asking questions not only increases your conversion rate, but also builds rapport with your customer and ensures that the sale becomes their idea and not yours.

Asking questions also means active listening. You can ask questions about your customer’s work, business, children or hobbies but make sure that you are listening with sincere interest. It may even be helpful to note down some of the answers – such as the names of their children, interests, etc., for future communication. By asking questions and listening, you are building rapport and attaching importance to their conversation.

Also, by asking questions you are remaining in control of the conversation. The person asking questions sets the direction for the conversation. Questions can guide consumer interest, discover a need and give accurate information. There are two commonly known types of questioning – open ended and closed questions.

Open-ended questions are an excellent way to ensure customer involvement in the conversation and are key to identifying not only what they need but also a lot about themselves. You can use open-ended questions to build rapport, to find a need, to discover a customer problem and find the right solution.

Closed questions tend to get one-word answers “yes” or “no”. They can be used to gather information quickly – not unlike a checklist. Using closed questions can also confirm a buying detail and help confirm the sale.

By using questions you are encouraging the customer to communicate, building rapport, establishing their needs, directing the conversation, diffusing tension and inviting discussion.

Learning the art of questioning and listening is the key to increasing your conversion rate and well on the way to creating a continuing customer relationship.

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