When you are preparing to meet with a new client, everyone has their own little rituals they go through prior to that sales conversation.  Some sales professionals take a few minutes to:

  • focus on key points
  • go for a quick walk or sit in the car listening to music to clear their heads, 
  • shake their hands and jump around to settle the nerves.  

       Whatever your ritual is, you have programmed your mind and body to respond to those actions, which in turn causes you to focus, establish clarity or relax.  It’s important you have these routines.

       Just as important are the routines you go through in preparation for the conversation itself.  These could consist of reviewing:

  • gathered information on the client
  • your product/service’s features and benefits
  • your solutions to navigate the conversation

       When I say navigate the conversation, what I really mean is how are you thinking through transitioning from one point to the next as you work your way through the conversation?  This is where the Impact Value of questions comes into play.

       The definition of value, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.”   So, let’s discuss how the type of question(s) you choose can determine the fluctuating value of the conversation.  Yes, value fluctuates throughout conversations and conversations are not static as you know.  They flow, gaining or losing momentum based on engagement.  So by asking strong/purposeful questions you can keep the momentum moving in the right direction

       Can you think of sales calls you have had that started slow; with little engagement, then flipped in a second because a certain question you asked directly impacted the conversation?  Or inversely, a time when you’ve had a discussion going and you were crushing it, you had both great connection and dialogue and then all of a sudden, all momentum shifted, and not in a good way.  These instances usually can be isolated back to a question that was asked, and that question either increased the value of the conversation for the client or decreased it.  So how do you prevent decreased value from happening?

       There are a few questions you need to think about when it comes to your questions:

  1. Take some time before the call to think through the usual questions you ask.  If someone was asking you those questions, would you see them as a value add or value decrease?
  2. Are the questions you are asking self-centered or client focused?
  3. How many questions do you have that are open ended vs closed ended?
  4. Finally, which type of question (open or closed ended) will bring more value to the conversation at the specific moment you need it to?

       That last point above is very important because honestly, the answer is not always “Open-ended”.  It depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

       Closed-Ended Impact Questions: framed with verbs functioning as auxiliaries like: is, are, can, was, were, have, has, do, does, and did.

Three possible answers to these questions:

  • Yes, I should do this
  • No, this isn’t what I want
  • Maybe…

       Open-Ended Impact Questions:  framed with words like: who, why, when, where, what, which, whom, whose and how.

Infinite Answers allows you to gather info such as:

  • Feelings
  • Attitude
  • Understanding

       Most people have a false sense of understanding when it comes to the Impact Value of each type of question.  If you ask someone, “Which is better for establishing both impact and value, an open-ended question or a closed-ended one?”  The typical answer is “Open-ended is better.”  This is not true at all.  Closed-ended questions can be extremely valuable especially if you are using them to establish belief or acceptance.  However, the real question you should be asking instead of “Which is better” should be “Where am I taking this person, and what am I going to do when I get them there?”  Those are the important questions to ask yourself.