Artful Questioning

Tom Hopkins
May 5, 2014 — 4,585 views  
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Many salespeople who haven’t yet reached the professional stage think professional selling is exactly the opposite of what it really is. When you entered the selling field, you may have thought, "Now my job is to talk and talk and talk." So off you go. "Here it is folks. Won't ravel, rust, or rip. Can't blister, break, or drip. Oh, you're going to love it. You'd better buy it now!"

The professional salesperson, the true Champion, realizes that people have two ears and one mouth, and each should be used equally. This means that after talking ten seconds, you switch your mouth off, switch your ears on, and listen for 20 seconds. This also means that instead of overwhelming your future client with words, you encourage them to talk.

Never push, give your opinion or tell people what to own. That’s what rookies and unprofessional salespeople do. They operate strictly from the position of hitting their numbers, making sales and generating a big paycheck for themselves.

Champion salespeople on the other hand, never give anyone the impression that they're pushing them - for the simple reason that they never push. But they do lead. The Champion leads his or her buyers from the initial contact to happy involvement in owning the product or service by not talking all of the time, by listening most of the time, and by asking artful questions. In all this alert and pointed questioning, the true professional maintains a friendly attitude of interest and understanding that encourages the prospect to open up and give the desired information freely.

Have you ever been surprised at how freely you've talked to certain salespeople before buying from them? They were alert and interested. You felt comfortable with them. Recalling those conversations, you may think you were leading and the salesperson was following. Superficially, that was true - at first. In a deeper sense, however, that professional salesperson was leading all the way and you were following all the way.

How did that happen? The Champion encourages you to start off. Once you set your direction, he or she gets smoothly in front and begins to lead you toward any of several open paths to purchase. When artful questioning reveals which of the several paths is best, the Champion guides you smoothly and warmly to it. The halter goes over your head so softly that you never think about bucking. Instead you buy!

Tom Hopkins

Tom Hopkins International, Inc.