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By Ask And You Shall Receive

Salespeople have a reputation for being big talkers. But, many of the best salespeople don't talk much at all--they listen to their customers' wishes. They don't try to talk customers into buying; they ask questions, and let their customers sell themselves.

A good question accomplishes two things: it provides you with information you need to move the sale forward and it causes your prospect to think. Questions can help build rapport. They can uncover and develop needs. They can instill confidence, present benefits, and overcome
objections. Learn to ask the right questions at the right time to make selling easier and more enjoyable--for you and your customer.

When prospects first walk into your store, ask them a question. Ask why they came to you. Are they shopping for themselves? For a gift? Have they been to any other stores? Ask questions that build rapport and put people at ease: "Is your sweater handmade?" "You sure look tired--have you been shopping all day?"

Ask questions that uncover needs: "Do you already own one, or will this be your first?" "What are you using now?" "If you could design the perfect product, what features would you build into it?"

Prospects walk into your store because they have a "pain," and they're looking for the cure. Help them to realize just how badly they need that cure. Ask questions designed to make the pain worse--questions like: "What will happen if you don't do anything?"

As you present your solutions to their problems, ask questions that gauge how you're doing: "Is this what you had in mind?" "Would that make your life easier?"

Questions can uncover and overcome objections too. You'll never convince prospects against their will, but you can ask questions that get them thinking--without angering or embarrassing them. Ferret out objections by asking questions like: "How do you feel about the color?" "What about the finish?" "What's preventing you from going ahead with this today?"

Isolate and overcome those objections by asking still more questions: "If we could find a way to work this into your budget, would you like it delivered this weekend?" "Is there anything else troubling you about this investment?"

Asking timely and well-planned questions can do magic for your closing rate. But asking questions is only half of the formula. The otherhalf involves listening to the answers. So ask, listen, and then ask some more--right up until you ask the final question: "Will that be cash or charge?"

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