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  • Writer's pictureAJ Cheponis

How to Ask Questions That Build Trust and Close Deals

As a salesperson, one of the most important skills you need to master is the art of asking questions. The right questions can help you build rapport, uncover pain points, and ultimately close the deal. However, asking the wrong questions can be just as detrimental as not asking any questions at all. In fact, some seemingly harmless questions can actually put your buyer on the defensive and derail your chances of making a sale.

Let's take a look at three common questions that you should avoid and why they can be problematic.

"How are you managing this challenge?"

On the surface, this might seem like a perfectly innocent question. After all, you're just trying to understand what the buyer is dealing with so that you can offer a solution. However, this question can be perceived as accusatory and judgmental. It implies that the buyer is struggling to manage a challenge, which can make them defensive or even embarrassed.

Instead of asking this question, try something like "Can you tell me more about the situation you're facing?" This puts the emphasis on understanding the buyer's needs rather than implying that they're struggling to manage a challenge.

"What's the issue you're having with your system?"

Again, this question might seem innocuous, but it can be problematic for a few reasons. First, it assumes that there is an issue with the buyer's system, which may not be the case. Second, it can be perceived as accusatory or even confrontational. The buyer may feel like they're being put on the spot to identify a problem, which can make them defensive.

Instead of asking this question, try something like "I'm curious to learn more about the technology you're currently using. Can you walk me through how it's working for you?" This puts the focus on the buyer's current situation and allows them to provide more detailed information about their needs and pain points.

"What problems are top of mind these days?"

This question might seem like a good way to get a sense of the buyer's current priorities and pain points. However, it can also be perceived as confrontational or judgmental. The word "problems" has a negative connotation, and it can make the buyer feel like they're being interrogated about their challenges.

Instead of asking this question, try something like "What goals are you currently working towards, and how can I help you achieve them?" This puts the focus on the buyer's aspirations and allows them to share their needs and pain points in a more positive and proactive way.

In general, when asking questions as a salesperson, it's important to be mindful of the language you use and the tone you set. Questions that imply blame or judgment can put the buyer on the defensive and make them less receptive to your message. On the other hand, questions that are framed in a positive and empathetic way can help build trust and rapport and ultimately lead to a successful sale.

Mastering the art of asking the right questions can take time and practice, but it's a skill that every salesperson should strive to develop. At Straightline Consulting, we offer consultative sales training that can help sharpen your sales team's skills and give them the tools they need to succeed in today's competitive marketplace.

Our training program is designed to help sales professionals build trust and rapport with their clients, uncover their needs and pain points, and ultimately close more deals. Whether you're a seasoned sales veteran or a new recruit, our program can help take your sales skills to the next level.

If you're interested in learning more about our consultative sales training program, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you and your team become sales ninjas.

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