Power Questions

Great sales pros are defined by their ability to ask outstanding questions.

This could be the most neglected area of any sales training. Language skills are critical to sales performance improvement.

Trick question – What is your purpose in asking questions?

I’ll give you a hint: In Christianity, Judaism and Islam there is a story about Moses and the burning bush.

Moses thinks this is amazing. He is gazing at a bush that is burning, but is not burning up. Flames are roaring away and the plant remains as green as a golf course. Must be a miracle and sure enough, God happens to be hanging around and starts speaking. Then God tosses a question at Moses. He says “What is that in your hand?”

Now as the story goes, in Moses’ hand is his shepherd’s staff and he thinks it’s a staff, even answers the question that way. Until God tells him to throw it on the ground and the staff turns into a snake.

It’s a very exciting scene and you can look up the details for yourself.

But your job right now is the answer the question, what is your purpose in asking questions? Your hint in the story was given and overtly hidden in God’s question. “What is that in your hand?”

Assuming that God is this all-knowing, all-powerful Being, there’s probably a very good chance that He knows what that stick is. He doesn’t need Moses’ help here. So why ask?

Because the purpose, the most important thing questions do, is to give direction to the conversation. Do you want to know about other decision-makers, competitors being interviewed, how much money is available? Choose your questions wisely as they set the path for the buyer to follow.

Every sales pros should have 5 Power Questions that they need answered in order to identify how they can best serve that prospect.

  1.  Could you tell me more or be more specific?
  2. How long has that been going on and what has it cost you?
  3. What have you done in the past to solve this problem? How is that
    working out?
  4. How is that affecting you personally? How does that make you feel?
  5. Have you considered just leaving things the way they are? or What would you do if you couldn’t find a solution?

There is so much more to developing that questioning muscle. Other key elements on questioning include:

Using softening statements to setup difficult questions, “that’s interesting, can you tell me…”

Evoking emotions, “Whoa! You lost that much money, who else…”

Identifying categories of questions to use, including those related to:


Here’s a sample dialogue (I taught at a Mazda/ VW dealership) that integrates some of these questioning skills. Notice how conversational it is. It flows.

You: Your car’s all right. What made you decide to start looking at new ones?
Prospect: Just wanted to upgrade my image a bit.
You: Oh really? What is that about?
Prospect: I just got a promotion and wanted to make sure what I drive is a reflection of my success.
You: So what would happen if you kept driving this one?
Prospect: People would probably wonder about my earnings or I’d be embarrassed to take clients out in this older car.
You: So do clients’ attitudes about you affect your business?
Prospect: Yes, in the sense that they like to work with successful people, right? Doesn’t everybody?
You get the picture. It’s about the power of questions and identifying your Power Questions that can help you better understand buyers and close more sales.

Copyright Dan Seidman  All rights reserved.


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