In the last Southwestern sales blog, I explored the notion of 4 conversational levels, and how it helps to get a prospect to a feeling level when you are selling. People buy products for a variety of feelings:
- Peace of mind
- A sense of security
- Fear of loss
- Providing a good environment for their children
Try asking feeling-oriented questions.
All of these reasons are also feelings. In the Southwestern introduction phase of the cycle of selling, try inserting a couple feeling-oriented questions:
- “Mrs. Jones, what is most important when it comes to your children and their education?”
- “A lot of moms have told me that, by why is it important to you?”
Ask these questions after you’ve established rapport. To the first, prospects will likely give you “standard” answers—in the Southwestern example, she’ll probably say, “…to get a good job” or “…to help them prepare for a career.” You want to dig deeper. Question #2 does that. In essence, you’re saying, “Thanks for the nice, generic answer, but really…can we talk?” The first question opens up the topic; the follow up question goes deeper and is more personal.
If the prospect responds with a feeling level answer, you are getting somewhere. “I didn’t finish school and it’s always bothered me.” You have touched an emotional topic. You can draw her out by asking, “Tell me more.” If she responds with: “I’ve always felt the only thing that cost more than a good education is not having one.” Hot button! I would follow up with: “Wow, Mrs. Jones, that’s pretty profound—why do you feel that way?” Why questions help at this point. Get them talking and keep them talking. NOTE: Learn to recognize an emotional topic when you hear it; a conversation can be emotional in nature yet be visibly unemotional, if that makes sense. She will probably not burst into tears.
If you have examples, please comment! Remember, the more she discusses her situation, her children, her challenges, her feelings, the better. With this new knowledge, you can better show how your product can help fill her needs—in the Southwestern example, her educational needs.