In selling or negotiating anything, it is really important to get to the facts and understand the other party. When you do this well, you can match your dialogue and your ideas to the right outcome. Your questioning techniques are really important.
There are 3 basic types of questions or probes that can be used in negotiation; they should be used in balance to the discussion on the product or service. You should select the right type of questions with care because they will have direct impact on the response of the other party. Here are those question or response types:
- Open Questions – this type of question will require a factual and detailed answer. For example, ‘How do you see this tractor being used in your current harvesting program?’
- Closed Questions – this process is suitable when you want a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. For example, ‘Can you see this tractor helping your harvesting program this year?’
- Extended Statement – this is a process of going further into a subject or discussion of the other party. For example, ‘Please tell me how the tractor will be used in your harvesting program.’
It is interesting to note that many salespeople do not use the third example above much at all. They do not probe deep enough into the issue or deal. Lack of information will make it harder to get a result or positive outcome. The open or closed question can always lead to the ‘extended statement’. It takes practice but the extra time spent in finding out all of the facts will always help you with your negotiation.
The more that you can move the discussion into the subject and need, the easier it is to understand exactly what they require and create agreement with the other party. The real facts of the matter will always help you in any negotiation; for that reason, remember that the negotiation is about them and not about you.
Here are some good question starters that you can use at any time with clients and customers:
- Tell me
- Couldn’t we?
- Shouldn’t we
- Didn’t you?
- Don’t you?
- Haven’t they?
- Doesn’t it?
- Hasn’t he?
- Isn’t it?
These statements will help you tie down the detail and move to a solution for the customer. They say that practice makes perfect, and that is certainly the case in professional selling and negotiation. Asking questions and getting closer to the requirements of the customer will always help you through the negotiation with greater efficiency.
Asking the right questions is a form of customer qualification. It pays to have a checklist designed for your product or service so you can really get to the important points quickly and effectively.
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