Boost Your Sales Success: Mastering the Art of Asking Great Questions and Active Listening
One common observation I've made about salespeople is their tendency to focus more on "selling and telling" rather than asking insightful questions and truly listening to the potential customer's response. Throughout my 13 years of coaching business professionals, I recall being challenged by my coach to improve my questioning skills. In the art of coaching, I learned the value of asking thought-provoking questions, then allowing the individual to express their thoughts while I listened attentively.
Henry David Thoreau once stated, "The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought and attended to my answer." Thoreau understood the significance and respect involved in asking someone a question and genuinely paying attention to their viewpoint. This approach often leads to deeper connections being formed. From a coaching standpoint, when we listen and pay attention to our customers or clients after they've shared their thoughts, they often discover their own solutions to their current challenges.
If you aim to make progress with your clients or prospects, it's crucial to ask meaningful questions and genuinely engage with their responses. One way to demonstrate attentiveness is by summarizing what they just said and seeking clarification, saying something like, "So, if I understood correctly, you mentioned 'x.' Is that accurate?" This demonstrates that you're actively listening and can provide additional insights when seeking further clarification. Through their elaboration, they may reveal additional ways in which you can assist them in achieving their desired outcomes.
As my former coach advised, ask powerful questions, listen intently, and be attentive to their answers. By following this approach, you'll likely find yourself closing more business deals.
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