Uncovering motivations: what and why?
“What are your concerns? What is it you want? What’s most important to you? And why is that important? Can you explain that to me? Can you walk me through why that’s important?”
Understanding goals, vision, and strategy.
Elaborate on and uncover how the opportunity you and your client are discussing fits within his/her goals: “Help me understand your goals…What exactly is your vision? What’s your strategy? What implementation have you planned? What’s your plan of action to ensure that you’ll achieve your goals? What are some of the hurdles you expect to encounter along the way? How does the particular opportunity we’re discussing fit within your overall goals and objectives?”
“What other options are you looking at/weighing? What else are you considering/pursuing?”
“What are your budgetary parameters? What range are you staying within? Where’s your best case and worst case scenario? What kind of wiggle room do you have to work with?”
“Help me understand your decision-making process and criteria.”
Time frame issues.
“What’s your time frame, and what are the steps? What benchmarks along the way will insure you meet your objectives within your time frame? What will be the benefit to you if this all comes together and on time?
“What will happen if this doesn’t work? What would be the impact on you? What are the consequences if you don’t achieve ____?”
“What have you done like this in the past? What’s been your experience in looking at these types of options or opportunities in the past?”
Feelings and perceptions.
Get your finger on your client’s emotional pulse: “How do you feel about how everything is progressing so far? What are your thought processes? What are your feelings about going into this?”
Paul Cherry is a coach, speaker, consultant, and best-selling author. He specializes in sales effectiveness development, with an emphasis on asking smart, intuitive questions that help “galvanize” successful customer relationships. For the past two decades,he has worked with more than 1,200 organizations and businesses in a wide array of industries. Paul has been featured in over 250 online pubs and print magazines, including Kiplinger’s Personal Finance,Selling Power,Investor’s Business Daily, and Inc. magazine. His published books include Questions That Sell,Questions That Get Results, and The Ultimate Sales Pro.
Paul is founder and president of Performance Based Results, which delivers B2B sales training and performance coaching to teams and managers in corporations across the USA and Canada, including 175 of the Fortune 500, and 1,000-plus entrepreneurial, cutting-edge companies looking to dominate their niche markets.