We direct sales consultants sell products, but we are squarely in the business of people and relationships. Those who take time to cultivate relationships, both in person and online, will have more success than those who spam their “join my team” and “shop my site” link to friends and online, and then wonder why their business isn’t growing. Learning good techniques for asking questions is one part of good relationship building.
In every single scenario you encounter with a contact, lead, or prospect, you will want to use good question techniques to get the desired results. In general, asking questions draws out other people. Here are some ideas to try. First, ask open-ended questions rather than yes/no questions. This draws the person out, and invites conversation. Second, ask questions where the answer gives the lead a choice, but their answer always benefits you, the consultant. “Can we schedule a time so I can show you the new collection?” This is both a closed yes/no question, and the answer could be “no thanks.” A better question would be “When is a good time to schedule a time so I can show you the new collection?” This is an open-ended question that presumes you are continuing the conversation.
Here are some other examples of common questions, and how to make very small tweaks to make them better.
* Average: “Have you heard of (your brand name)?”
* Better: “Let me tell you about (your brand name).
* Average: “Have you seen our new catalog?”
* Better: “What is your favorite item in the new catalog?”
* Average: “Can I send you some information about becoming a consultant?
* Better: “What’s the best email to send you some information about becoming a consultant?”
* Average: “Do you want to book a party?”
* Better: “I have Thursday or Sunday available for bookings. Which is better for you?”
* Average: “Do you want to add a … ?
* Better: “Let me show you a few other options. Which of these is your favorite?”
* Average: “When is the best time to call?”
* Better: “Would morning or evening be better for our follow-up call?”
* Average: “Can I follow-up with you?”
* Better: “What’s the best number or email for me to follow-up with you?”
Social Media Question:
* Average: “Are you on Facebook?” Or, ”can I friend you on Facebook?”
* Better: “I’d love to connect on Facebook. What is your profile name?”
You’ll notice in the examples above that the “average” questions seek permission. Can I? When can I? The “better” questions already presume permission, and are moving to the next step of continuing or extending the relationship. You are assuming the answer is already yes, and you’re just giving them yes options. It’s a very subtle change in your questioning technique, but will yield very different results in your continued conversation and opportunity for future follow-ups.
I challenge you to think about the questions you ask regularly, and how you can make very slight changes to wording. Be sure you are asking open questions, where the person always has a choice, but the choice always benefits you. If necessary, write out your questions so you can practice them, and incorporate them into your regular scripts!
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