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Questions that sell technology

01 Nov 09

When we sell technology the focus is often put on having all the ‘right’ answers. There is an illusion that if you tell a prospect all about your technology product and can answer each of their questions, you will  progress the sale.

This illusion puts a lot of pressure on you to know all the answers, not to mention the fact that the illusion really is just that: an illusion. Having all the answers to your prospect’s questions does not progress a sale. Quite the opposite! In fact it’s having the right questions that will progress the sale.

If you know what to ask, you will not only sell faster but there will be fewer questions that you need to answer.

What are the ‘right’ questions?
The right questions open up the conversation and discover the motivations the client  might have to change and to buy a technology product like yours. I call these questions ‘power questions’, because  they uncover motivation and progress the sale by default.

Power questions have a certain construction and a certain scope which increase their inherent power. For example, if  you ask a question which has a yes/no answer, how powerful do you think it will be? Does a yes/no question open up  the conversation and discover the motivation to change? Are yes/no questions penetrating and do they encourage the conversation to go deeper?

Compare the response to a yes/ no question to a ‘why’ question… to a ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘which’ or  ‘how’ question. Think about how powerful each of these questions is in opening up the conversation to penetrate and uncover your client’s motivation.

For a question to help progress the sale of your products, it must not only have a certain construction but also a certain  scope. Your questions need to be centered on the scope of the problems that you solve. They need to be relevant to uncovering the motivation for your particular technology solution.

For the power of the right questions to be unleashed completely, you’ll need to consider a few questions about what  you plan to ask:


  • Is this a question that I know the answer to?

  • Is this a question that I sincerely want to know the answer to?

  • Does this question contain assumptions? (Assumptions narrow the conversation.)

  • Is this question manipulative or persuasive? (If so, it will close down rather than open up the conversation.)

  • What is my intent with this question? Is it to sell, or to understand? (If it is to sell, expect the power in the question to disappear.)

  • Does this question help my prospect gain a deeper understanding as well?

Think up some power questions that are relevant to the problems that you solve. What are some ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘when’ questions that will enable you to dive deep and understand their problems? Ask yourself the above about your
questions.

Also, you want to find a question framework that is simple to use and is conversational. I coach my clients on the  ‘DIVE’ mode. It stands for D-iscover, I- mpact, V-alue, and E-magine. Before your next sales conversation, prepare some power questions and give up feeling that you have to know all the answers. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. The  more power questions you ask, the fewer questions you will be asked in return and the fewer answers you will need to  have. You’ll also find that your technology sale will be speeding up – provided, of course, that you are listening to the  answers!

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