[5 Pillars of Influence Article Series] Article #12 ~ The Questions That Can Change Your Prospects’ Lives, Part II
Your goal during discovery sales conversations is to bring prospective clients to clarity about their situation, so that they can face it and feel the urgency to change.
You accomplish that by asking them four main questions.
Last time, I shared the first two: “What are you looking to accomplish?” and “What is the biggest problem in your business right now?”
Here are the other two questions:
With the third question, you’re assessing their awareness while helping them get clear. You ask, “Why do you think you have that problem?”
Again, don’t argue with them or challenge their perception.
You’re not trying to show how wrong they are or how smart you are.
You want to draw the clarity out of them, which isn’t going to happen if you’re making them feel defensive.
You can tell them what’s wrong with their business until you’re blue in the face. But until they see it for themselves, there’s no sale.
So even if you think they’re wrong, listen to what they’re saying.
The Art of Listening
In order to listen, you have to be out of your own head.
If you have a clatter of mental noise, if you’re thinking, Is this person going to buy? or What do I say next? you’re only listening to yourself.
You want to listen to them, but even more than that, you want to really hear them. Remember, we listen with our ears, but we hear with our emotions.
If you can hear what your prospective client is saying with your own feelings, and then give that empathy back to them in the form of the fourth question, you will influence them every single time.
When you ask the fourth question with empathy, your prospects will feel permission from you to be authentic, and to tell you the truth.
At the same time, you want to convey a tone of authority, so that they feel confident in you as well.
So energetically, you lean in, and with that compassionate yet authoritative tone, you ask:
“How badly do you want this to change?”
If you’re compassionate and they’re authentic, the question will elicit emotion. There may be tears. There may be anger. There may be excitement.
And you will know instantly if the person is ready to make the change. If they are ready to buy.
Don’t respond by, then, going into a lot of detail about your product or service. People are not buying based on what your product or service contains.
They’re buying the outcome that they finally feel is possible for them.
If you start going into the details, you’re going to destroy that urgency to change that you’ve been building over the entire conversation.
Like sticking a pin into a balloon, the urgency is gone, and you’ve lost the sale.
What you want to do is stay present with them and solidify the commitment. Begin the relationship that will enrich both of your lives.