Communicate: Listen and Ask Questions
More than ever, we are in high pressure situations were communication has become more important. Meetings, deadlines and schedules run our day, at home and at work.
If you are in sales you know it is getting harder to know more than the customer as they have access to the internet and all the knowledge. They know more about the competition than we do.
So when customers do come in to purchase a product or service from us, we have to ask better question to understand their needs. But that is not all, we also need to become better listeners. For more details on sales, check out this post.
Before we can offer solutions that will satisfy the customers needs we need to know what those need are.
How do we do that? We need to ask questions. Then we need to listen to their answers. Then offer a solution. WRONG.
Sometimes we need to ask additional questions to clarify information we want to know. We need ask better question so we can uncover our customer’s needs before we make an attempt to present our solutions.
The Questioning Process
Good communicate is not just asking questions. The right questions are important to understand why the customer needs our product. Asking the right questions and looking for additional deal, give us the information we need so we can provide the best solutions based on the product or services available to us.
Did you know the way you word the question is just as important as asking a good question? One word in the question, can determine if you make a sale or not.
If you phrase the your question with a positive tone you will receive a positive answers. But if you phrase the words with a negative tone you will get a negative answer.
Did you know that the questions you ask and the tone in which you ask them can influence the buying decision your customer will make? So be like the best salespeople and ask questions which appeal to both the emotional and logical side of a customer.
If you ask questions that conjure an emotional response, this alone can cause the client to move forward with the purchase. If you ask logical questions that require a logical answer, they will help justification and support the buying decision.
We have all heard there are two types of questions to ask when you are communicate with other people so lets explore them.
Two types of Communication
Open Ended Questions
Open ended questions are designed to get customers to talk and tell us more about what they need and why. The customer will have to explain themselves in detail and use emotion and logic in their response.
Some good conversation starters are:
- Can you explain…
- Would you describe…
- Can you tell me about…
- Would you elaborate on…
Before you ever meet a client and start the sales process you should develop a list of your own open-ended questions to ask the customer. Do this for each product you offer and you will be amazed how many well thought out question you can come up with.
As you start to ask your customers the questions, work on refining your questions. Make sure the tone and language will get you your desired results in any situation.
Closed Ended Questions
Closed ended questions are the easiest to ask. They are usually used to communicate that you understand the customers needs and when you are ready to move the sales through the sales process. They make sure that you understand what the customer needs and why.
Open and closed ended questions do two things when you communicate with your customer. They help clarify what you wan to know and they help you know if you understand what the customer is saying.
You may ask both types of questions throughout the sales process so you can understand what the customer wants, needs and is trying to communicate.
Be careful not to ask questions that will not help you get the information you require to make the sale. You do not need to ask all your open-ended questions first and then follow with closed ended questions. You can mix up your questions.
Helpful Questioning Techniques
When were are in a sale situation or even when we are communicating with friends we have to remember to not answer the questions that we ask of the customer.
We usually tend to do this when there are long moments of silence and we want to not sound like we asked a question that is to hard to answer or maybe was not as well thought out as we first thought.
Just ask your question and then listen to what the person says. The most successful salespeople today have one characteristic in common. They ask good questions and then stay quite and allow the customer to answer, no matter how long the silence. We have to give our customer, family, friends and other time to think their answer through before they talk.
Remember, silence is an effective tool when we communicate with people. Now if you feel that the person may not understand the question, you can always rephrase the question.
Talking To Much
If you are talking more than your customer then you are not listening. The more you talk the less your changes to sell your customer the product or service they come in for. Your over talking can lead the customer to feel you are not interested in learning about there needs and that all you’re looking to do is sell them something.
When we talk to much we tend to say things we did not mean to say. Leave the talking to the customer. The more they talk the more they will tell you. Even information they were not looking to share with you.
In sales and in relationships talking less is more when you ask the question. Asking good questions and asking follow-up questions will help you become a better sales person or spouse.
The Listening Process
Did you know we are not all born great listeners? For many of us it take practice to be an effective listener so we can understand people. Just because you were born to hear does not mean you were born to be a good listener.
Listening is one of the more effective ways to communicate with customers. It will show them you care about what they say and that its important to you.
The reason we have to concentrate on being a better listener is because we have a tendency to filter information that they hear. I heard once that we can process more words than we can speak so our minds start to wonder. I believe this is very true.
Just think about all the conversation where your mind wandered while someone else is talking. All to often we do not hear all of what the person is saying. Not just in words but tone and body language.
It is also important to not just listen to the words. When you were a child I’m sure someone told you to read between the lines. That what our active listening skills have to do for us.
When we are not listening to our customers we communicate that we just want to tell them what we think as fast as we can. We do this by cutting the person off or dismissing what the person is saying.
It takes work but we need to not respond until the customer is done talking. How will you know if you need to ask another question if all you want to do is talk?
One great skill all great active listeners have is taking notes on what the customer is saying. Try that the next time you have a customer in your office. You convey the message that what they are saying is important enough to write down.
Traits of a Good Listener
- Good listener learn and use the customers name.
- They listen to what say without getting distracted.
- Understand what people are not saying
- Good listeners help summarize what the customer is saying.
- Listen with your eyes and your ears.
- Hear the tone the customer is speaking with.
- Put yourself in the other persons situation.
- Know that not all customers are the same. Learn to adapt.
Good listeners also do one more thing. Its called mirroring. It can help create the mood and experience we want the customer to have.
Dealing with Different Types of Customers
Any one who has been in sales or anyone who has gone out to purchase anything knows that no two experiences are the same. One minute we can be dealing with a great customer and the next minute everything changes.
How we deal with this situation will ensure if we will be successful or not in communicating with the customer to make the sale.
- The Loud or Aggressive Customers – Lower your voice and tone. This will cause the client to relax and stop their aggressive behaviour.
- The Customers Who Uses Foul Language – We need to always use clean and professional language. If the customer is swearing to much you can ask them to cut it out. But please use caution.
- The Softly Speaking Customer You Can’t Hear – As the sales person we need to keep our voice at a comfortable volume and lean in towards the customer.
- The Fast or Slow Talker – We are the professional and we need to adjust our rate of speech to meet theres.
- Customers Who Have Strong Accents, Bad Grammar, Use Slang or Have a Speech Impediment – It will be important to have a unique approach as each situation cab be hard for that other person.
Interruptions In Conversation
Interruptions are bound to happen but how we control and deal with them will ensure our success or failure in the sales process.
- Customers Interruptions – During your sales process the customer will have questions. This is natural but if the customer will not allow you to present then at some point we will need to take control or the situation.
- Other Customers Interrupt – This will happen from time to time. Learn how to excuse yourself from your current customer and let the other customer know the you will be with them in a given amount of time.
- Visitors Interruptions- From time to time our friends may visit us at our place of work. Excuse yourself and tell the visitor that you can meet with them at another time.
- Co-workers Interruptions – Respect that we are all trying to serve the client and ultimately take home a pay cheque. If you need to interrupt another co-worker make sure its okay to do so. Ask permission. If they need to interrupt you then they should also ask permission. My advise would be to look at the situation and see if you can find someone else instead.
- Office and Cell Phone Interruptions – Do not take calls if possible during your sales process. Ask your customer the same thing before the sales process starts.
If you have to take the call than: Excuse yourselves politely and offer a brief explanation.
If we know you will receive a call before hand let the customer know in advance.
Communication is very important. Asking good questions and listening to the answers customers give us, will make sure success in sales and in relationships. Use the tips provided here to kick-start your sales career or to enhance the career you already have.
We all want to sell more and learn how to be effective communicators. With every customer practice and practice until your process becomes natural.
Now its your turn to make a difference. Share the solution people are looking for on your favourite social media platform. It’s easy to do and a proven fact your inner circle wants to know what you know.
Leave a comment by telling us what one you will do differently today to communicate more effectively with others.
Check out other articles and don’t forget to tell your inner circle about DiscoverYourLifeToday.com.
Connect with us on Facebook and do not miss new articles. The secret, sign up for email updates.
Want to communicating more effectively? Purchase books and tools instantly on Amazon Canada or Amazon USA. Each item purchased from Amazon allow us to build and grow DYLT. Thank you for your continued support.
Don’t just imagine change. What if it was as easy as coming back every 30 days, rereading the article and applying the information. Start selling and making more money.