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Illuminating Questions... It's How The Light Gets In !

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4 Min Read

Illuminating Questions Help To... shed light on a topic, innovate the conversation by use of critical thinking, make points clear and easier to understand, bring lucidity to new ideas, enable enlightenment, reveal insights, energize the conversation, assist in opening the mind to allow for consideration of new possibilities, transition beyond the current situation and avoid traditional thinking.  MOST IMPORTANTLLY, IT DIFFERENTIATES YOU FROM THE MASSES OF AVERAGE SELLERS!

A To Frequent Situation... is that Buyers are hoping to be illuminated from Sellers when considering possible solutions to their challenges.  Sellers also require some enlightening as to the nature and scope of the buyers resolution.  Often though, we find that Sellers are too shallow with their inquiries, lacking a requisite amount of curiosity, and fore-thought to their questions.  This occurs primarily from focusing too accutely on the tactics of selling a product versus wanting to genuinly solve the problem.  Consequently, Buyers are neither stimulated or encouraged to respond beyond the minimum facts.  Sadly, no significant "light" is shed upon either Buyer or Seller.  

Framing Enlightening Questions... How do we encourage Buyers to respond beyond their initial answer?  How do we energize our questions to cause creative thinking?  How do we make our questions more engaging and illuminating?  First, it requires that you be a great listener.  It's been said that there has never been a great questioner that was not also a great listener.  Secondly, it's time to stop "winging it" with your questions.  Sellers have a chance to diferentiate themselves simply by causing the Buyer to think more critically. Start by preparing thought-provoking, purposeful, and intentful questions "prior" to having the conversation.  It is worth the time!

We Want The Buyers Mind To "Light Up"... when we speak, we want the words and phrases that not only sound different than other salespeople but we want them to feel differently too.  Seemingly small changes in words may have huge implecations.  Imagine that you are in the process of developing a new relationship and suspect the Buyer may be feeling a little reserved and not revealing everything.  Given the newness of the relationship, the Buyer is naturally being a bit cautious.  So what can you do? #1, demonstrate that you've listened to them and understand their situation. #2, next look for places in the conversation to inject words that inspire confidence and trust.  Words like; absolutely-accurate-advantage-always-approved-certain-confidence-easy-effective-excellence-guarantee-insured- protected- proven- reliable- responsive- secure- stable- trusted by- warranted.  Here is when attention to subtly and nuance has the potential to pay big dividends.  Any one of these words may create an opening, or a crack, a crack just wide enough to let the light get in.

As You Think About Preparing... thought-provoking and enlightening questions, consider minimizing the number of "can you tell me" questions. It's the most often used phrase, around the world, to begin a question.  Most Buyers use that opening thinking that it's an open-ended question, but it's not. "Can"  may solicit a simple "yes or no" as a response.  Not only that, it make you sound like every other Seller that the Buyer has spoken with.  Having interviewed Buyers from around the world, one of the most common responces I heard, is;  "Buyers  freely stated that most Sellers all sound the same and ask the same questions".  Ouch!!!  Try to incorporate phrases less used; "I'd like your opinion on...", "it would be helpful if we could go a little deeper on that...", "based on your experience...", "who else might have some additional insights on ..."

We Also Want To Use Words... that reflect energy and vibrancy.  To stimulate the Buyer, try using words like; arouse - encourage - inspire - prompt - spark - trigger - energize - incite - invigorate - motivate.  Especially useful when creating Value Propositions are words that show "movement or measurement (up/down +/-)".  Words like; increase revenue - mitigate risks - decreased cost - increase marketshare - competitive advantage - 1st to market .  This approach may actually create value in the mind of the Buyer and lesson unnecessary discounting for the Seller.  Freshen up the conversation by use of the words like; crisp - new - different - hot - unusual -radical - innovative - unconventional -  leading-edge - original - state of the art.  The idea is that your offering is not "just a better mouse trap" but the "next big thing".  These should help you create a "crack for some light to shine through".  Obviously, you'll need to practice speaking these words to make them sound natural, and your own.  I'd encourage you to come up with your own "energizing & vibrant" words. It will make a difference for you.

If You Think About These Concepts... for even a brief moment, you'll see how simple this is to incorporate into your daily conversations.  For example: do you want this new customer to be "satisfied" or "ecstatic" with their buying decision? Do you want them to be "pleased" or "thrilled" with the level of support?  Do you want them to be "comfortable" or "confident"  with you and your implementation team?  It's obvious which responses provide the greatest emotion & feeling.

Remember... these word choices don't happen by accident or "winging it".  It will take a conscious effort and thoughtful pre-conversation plan to create a crack...

​                                        A Crack Just Wide Enough, To Let The Light Get In!

Great Selling!

Bobby

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