The Best Question to Ask a Customer or Prospect

Through the years of training sales people one topic comes up on a regular basis – How do I get the Customer/Prospect to talk to me? In reality, this is the most important thing that a Salesperson has to do – get the customer or prospect to tell them about things. In response, they is a question that when used properly has the power to get customers and prospects talking about their situation. I have referred to it as the “million dollar question” because it is so effective.

Okay, here it is:

“Mr/Ms Prospect/Customer, I’m fully prepared to talk about X, yet, first I would like to understand your perspective on what is important to you and this will allow me to not waste your time discussing things that are not important to you.”

It seems corny, yet it works like a charm with even tight lipped buyers. How does this work? Well, it is due to the three parts of the question. Each part has a “meta talk” that is important to the customer and gives the salesperson more credibility. 

First part: I’m fully prepared to talk about x…. This shows preparation, knowledge and possible expertise about a key topic on the mind of the customer. We know this because the meeting was set up based upon this topic. So, the customer knows they are talking to someone that could possibility assist them.

Second part: …first I would like to understand your perspective on what is important to you. This shows that the salesperson values the customer’s opinion. It shows respect for the customer’s point of view and range of knowledge. It also shows that the sales person will not be using a canned presentation if they are more concerned about the customer’s point of view than their point of view.

Third part: …this will allow me to not waste your time discussing things that are not important to you.” This third part of the question or statement shows that the customer’s time is important. There will be no wasting of time talking about things that are unimportant to the customer. At this point, the customer believes that you are really there to help them and know that if they tell you things – you will help them.

How simple, yet, very powerful. Several of my clients have reported that they used this question with people that had not given them the time of day in previous meetings and they talked for over an hour about they issues! This question does work. The key is for you to honor its power and only use it when you need to gain rapport and answers. Practice this question until you have it down cold so it is totally natural and sincere.

If you are looking for sales coaching or training, contact our offices at 901-757-4434. Ask for Voss Graham.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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