The Secret Formula to Ask Effective Sales Questions

Ever feel like your sales questions are hitting a dead end? You ask, they answer “yes” or “no,” and the conversation goes nowhere.  What if there was a formula to ask questions that get your customers talking and expose their real needs? That's exactly what we'll crack the code on in this video. We'll break down the L.E.T.S. framework, a powerful tool to understand your customers and close more deals.

Understanding Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions

Before diving in, let's talk about question structure. Questions are either open-ended or closed-ended.

Open-ended ones are like opening a gate, inviting a flood of thoughts.

While closed-ended ones are like hitting a stop sign – you get a simple “yes” or “no.”

In sales, we often rely on those quick “yes or no” questions. They're easy, but they limit your understanding of the customer's needs.

The key is knowing when to use each type. Imagine you want to know if someone wants a promotion. A closed-ended question might be: “Would you be happy with a promotion?” But an open-ended question like: “What would an ideal career move look like for you?” gets you way more valuable information.

Think of open-ended questions as conversation starters that uncover needs, while closed-ended ones help confirm details and move the conversation forward. We'll use both strategically in the L.E.T.S. framework.

With that in mind, let’s break down the steps in this effective framework where each new type of question we ask, in this specific order takes us closer to getting the next step of the sales process agreed to and confirmed by the prospect

Step #1: Logical Questions

The first step is Logical Questions.  Think of these as getting down to business. These questions help you understand the specifics of what your customer wants to achieve. They're like gathering intel – the “what” and “how” of their situation.

Here's an example: Let's say you're selling a new marketing tool. A good logical question might be, “Who else on your team would need to be on board to use this new system effectively?”  (Ask engagement question along the way)  This gets you thinking about who else has a say in the decision and how your product fits into their workflow.

Logical questions can also be closed-ended to confirm specifics.  For instance, “Do we need to get the marketing director involved to make a decision on this tool?”   (Ask engagement question along the way)   See how that clarifies things?

These logical questions set the stage for the next step, which is all about emotions. We'll dig into that in a minute, but for now, focus on getting those clear, fact-based questions out there. They'll help you understand the customer's situation and pave the way for a more emotional connection.

Step #2: Emotional Questions

Alright salespeople, got those logical questions down? Now let's add some feeling to the mix!  We're moving on to Emotional Questions.

These questions dig into the “why” behind the customer's needs.  We talked about the “what” and “how” with logical questions, but here we want to understand what motivates them to solve this problem.

Imagine you're selling a project management tool. A great emotional question might be: “If this new system helped streamline your projects, what would that mean for you?”   This gets them thinking beyond just the features and focuses on the positive impact it could have on their work life.

Sometimes, people might not quite see the emotional benefit. That's where close-ended emotional questions come in.  For example, “Would getting this project management system finally eliminate some of the stress you feel managing deadlines?”  See how that clarifies the emotional connection to solving their problem?

These emotional questions help you connect with the customer on a deeper level and show them how your product can truly improve their situation.  Next up, we'll explore Trigger Event Questions, which will help you pinpoint specific moments where the customer's problem becomes most urgent.

Step #3: Trigger Events.

Okay, we've been diving into the “what” and “why” with logical and emotional questions. Now, let's get specific about the “when” with Trigger Events.

These questions connect the customer's emotions to a specific event that makes solving their problem urgent.  Imagine you're selling cybersecurity software.  A good trigger event question might be: “What's changed in your company's security needs since the recent data breach?”  This ties their emotional concern about security to a real-world event that makes them more receptive to a solution.

We can also use closed-ended trigger event questions to pinpoint the impact.  For example: “Did the recent data breach affect your company's ability to meet its quarterly earnings goals?” See how that gets them thinking about the specific consequences of not addressing the problem?

Trigger event questions turn a “nice-to-have” problem into a pressing need.  They light a fire under the customer and make them more likely to take action.  Coming up next, we'll explore Summary Questions, which help solidify your understanding of the customer's situation. Stay tuned!

Step #4: Summary Questions

Almost there, salespeople! We've covered a lot of ground with logical, emotional, and trigger event questions. Now, let's wrap it all up with our Summary Questions.

Think of these as a way to tie a neat bow on the conversation and create a clear, memorable takeaway for the customer.  We want to summarize the situation you've uncovered and show them you understand their challenges.

Here's an example:  Let's say you're selling marketing automation software.  A good summary question might be: “So, it sounds like you're struggling to keep up with all the manual marketing tasks, which is impacting your team's efficiency. I see this a lot, and it can definitely lead to burnout. Does that sound about right?” This reminds them of the key pain points you've discussed and shows you're on the same page.

We can also use closed-ended summary questions to highlight the urgency.  For instance: “If you don't find a way to automate these tasks, could it put your team's ability to meet marketing goals at risk?”  See how that reinforces the potential consequences of inaction?

Summary questions solidify your understanding, build trust with the customer, and create a clear path forward.

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