Tuesday, April 22, 2008

If You Want To Succeed at Sales, You Must Be Great at Asking Questions

There are many qualities that a successful salesperson might possess. These include a good work ethic, an entrepreneurial spirit, good sales skills, great communication abilities, people oriented, and product knowledge.

You can add your ideas to the list, such as organizational abilities, self-motivated, energetic, enthusiastic, persistent, and dedicated.

However, I believe that the most important innate skill that a salesperson can have is the ability to ask questions. This is partly taught and partly natural ability.

Give me any person who is people oriented that knows how to ask questions – and likes doing so – and I can teach them to sell. They are related. A love of people causes you to want to learn about them, their needs, and how you can help them.

However, give me someone with great product knowledge that isn’t comfortable asking questions or isn’t able to develop a natural rhythm of asking questions, and that person will be more challenged to become a successful salesperson.

Asking questions is nothing more than having a conversation with someone. Take someone you hardly know or are meeting for the first time at a social event. You ask what they do, about their family, where they live, where they’re from, what they like to do, and so forth.

Before long, you have an idea of their background and areas that you have in common. It’s not all one-sided either. It’s give-and-take. You learn about them, and they learn about you.

Sales is quite similar. There are certain types of questions you can’t ask until the foundation has been established, but it’s very similar.

Asking questions because you want to know the answers, because you are curious, because you need an explanation, and because you want a clarification will guide you toward successful a sales presentation.

Along the way, you’ll learn what you need to focus on and the answers that your customers need to have in order to make an informed decision on your product.


Not very good at asking questions but want to be better? Practice talking with people everywhere you go. Enjoy asking questions but need to use more effective ones? Relax and concentrate on really getting to know your customers. The questions will begin coming to you.

* For more information about my consulting and coaching services visit my website
stevehoffacker.com. I also maintain a blog on the real estate network Active Rain, and you can join this site and begin participating in the fun and networking opportunities by clicking here.

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