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Are you a salesperson preparing for an important sales presentation? Even though traditional selling techniques have been working for a long time, they don’t seem to really make prospects feel listened to.  An excellent solution to that is question-based selling. It provides a lot of benefits that only create more connections with your prospects and it eases the transition from prospects to customers. Discover what is question-based selling and how it can benefit your sales.

What is question-based selling?

Question-based selling is a technique that puts you in a position where you listen to your customers more than you talk. It allows you to navigate towards your customers’ needs in order to understand their needs or in a more simple way, what they are expecting from your service or product. 

Asking the right questions is a skill that requires some preparation. As a salesperson, you should first gather all information you can find about the prospect. You should also note all the questions you are going to ask to ensure that you formulate them in a clever way. By doing so, you will be able to develop the right technical questions and to use the appropriate vocabulary.

How can question-based selling generate more revenue for your business?

When you start implementing asking questions in your sales process, you consider your customers more like success partners. It makes you listen to them carefully and show real interest in their needs.

It creates interpersonal dynamics where your sales team stops to find the right thing to say to sell the product or service at any cost. Instead, they start asking technical and effective questions to understand the unique challenges and experiences of the prospect they are speaking to. 

In this dynamic, the prospect feels listened to and starts trusting your product or service. It’s not that your offer becomes more interesting because of the product itself, but it’s more about creating this atmosphere where you show your client that you care about his problem and that you want to help him solve it. 

By doing so, you gain the trust of your prospects and they get easily convinced that you genuinely want to provide them with a solution. Therefore, they will be inclined to buy your product or your service. 

The key with question-related selling is that the questions are based on the previous answers. It’s not just a bunch of random questions that follow a track to get to the final offer. Instead, the questions are oriented in a way to let the client express his needs so that the salesperson can come up with the best way the product or the service can solve them. 

Using the questions technique allows your sales team to present practical solutions and not only random benefits from a brand trying to get money out of them. By putting the customers in a state of confidence and care, they become willing to get your product.

the prospect must feel listened to

Traditional selling technique vs. Question-based selling technique

Traditional selling technique

Opening call

In traditional selling techniques, the opening call is usually the moment where the salesperson introduces the brand and its products or services. During this phase, the seller is often focused on creating curiosity from the customer in order to keep him interested in the conversation.

Investigating needs

That’s where the real selling process starts. To investigate the needs of their customers, traditional sellers often ask a list of pre-established questions as if they were creating a customer profile. In traditional selling, there are generally few rooms for listening to the client. It’s more about showing what the brand is about.

Giving benefits

Once they’re clearly established what the brand and its products are about, then the sellers start explaining the benefits it can provide to the prospects. During this phase once again, there is almost no listening from the seller. His goal here is to amaze the prospect so that he feels eager to access this product or service.

Objection handling

Then comes the moment where the seller is ready to hear what the prospect thinks about his offer. Since the customer didn’t have enough room to express what he would expect from the type of product that is presented to him, he doesn’t feel confident about engaging himself with the offer. He then has few or many objections that the seller should be able to handle.

Closing

There comes the final step where the seller could handle the objections from the prospect. Giving his potential customer the opportunity to express what are his needs, the seller had then the ability to adjust his speech to the features of his product or service. This way, he could then show to his prospect the value that he could get from such an offer and then commit him to buy.

Question-Based selling technique

Opening the call

With the question-based approach, the opening call often starts with an open-ended question that sets the tone of the conversation. If it’s the first contact with that prospect, the salesperson will introduce the brand to the potential customer in a brief way, yet still ensuring to generate curiosity from him. 

Investigating by asking questions

As we said in the previous point, question-based sellers start with an open-ended question that sets the tone of the conversation. Based on the prospect’s response, the seller can then follow up with other more in-depth questions specific to the initial answer. Throughout the process, the prospect talks more than the salesperson in the sense that it allows that potential client to feel heard and to increase his trust in the brand. 

 

Investigating by asking questions

Demonstrating capabilities

By increasing the trust of their prospects by showing care with follow-up questions, your sales teams are more confident to demonstrate your product or services capabilities. The features on which they put the most focus are directly directed in the way that they resolve the problems that the potential clients are facing. 

Obtaining commitment

With trust gained and caring shown, question-based sellers rarely have to deal with objections. In fact, it’s generally the prospects who are willing to start enjoying the benefits that they can get from the products or services. Indeed, they understand that they are talking with a person really caring about their professional or personal life getting easier. And to reach this state of being, the offer which is presented to them is the solution.

Investigating by asking questions [SPIN Selling Methodology]

SPIN selling is a sales technique that focuses on listening to the customer as the key to successful commercial prospecting. It allows you as a salesperson to become familiar with your prospects’ needs. SPIN selling methodology first appeared in the 1970s when Neil Rackham presented the study that gave birth to this methodology. Its main purpose is to find something out from the customer that will enable you to sell more effectively.

SPIN selling methodology 

Situation

The situation is the opening phase. Its objective is to capture your prospect’s attention and establish a relationship of trust. To do this, you have to take an interest in your prospect and ask open-ended questions through active listening. 

You should avoid starting to talk about yourself and your products. You must first record the information that your interlocutor transmits to you. Then, you will be able to identify his needs and respond to them in an adapted way. 

Problem

It’s in this second phase that the investigation begins. It represents the heart of your prospecting strategy. After listening carefully to your prospect, identify his explicit and implicit needs. Try to clearly understand what his real issues are and how your offer will really help him. 

In this second phase, you still don’t talk about you and your offer. This is a second way for you to understand his behaviors and detect his personality. You will then be able to come up with an adapted sales pitch. 

Involvement

The third phase, considered as the demonstration phase, consists of talking about you and your solution. Now that you have perfectly assimilated your prospect’s needs and issues, you can present your offer in a suitable way. 

Here, you have to compromise to adapt your arguments to the profile and character of your interlocutor. 

Need pay-off

The last phase is the commitment phase. It consists in triggering the purchase while keeping in mind that it’s not an obligation. It is well known that customers, mainly in the B2B sector, don’t close the sale instantly. In fact, the final decision is taken at the highest level of the company. 

Even though this last phase can be seen as a continuous step, the customer has been convinced but still has to talk to his collaborators. While considering this aspect, you have done most of the work. You can also follow up with your prospect in a respectful manner tailored to his or her profile.

Question-based selling technique is a simple way that helps you uncover pain points, personalize your sales conversation, and favor value-based sale pitches. At Wingmate, we help you dominate your competition and retain your customers through innovative and powerful CRM solutions.

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