Understanding is a vital element of client communication, and one of the best ways to increase understanding is to ask questions. Consider using the following techniques to craft compelling questions that improve client communication and get the answers you need:
- Make your questions one sentence – Meaning and intent can get lost in complex questions. Explain the situation at length if necessary, but when it’s time to ask the important question, keep it to one concise sentence. This focuses the question on the most important topic and keeps the subject open-ended.
- Ask open-ended questions – To ensure you understand your customer, asking open-ended questions (questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no) will expand the dialogue and provide additional insight.
- Ask for clarifications – If you don’t understand what the customer wants, ask for clarification. For example, “I think that will work. Could you explain it again so that I’m completely clear on the matter?” Or you can restate what you believe the customer has said, “Let me make sure I understand. It sounds like you …” Your customer will either confirm or clarify for you.
- Avoid either/or questions – Sometimes it may seem like the solution to a problem will require one of two options. Even in cases like this, avoid questions that set those two options out as the only choices. Ask more general, open-ended questions to give your customer the opportunity to offer options you may not have considered.
- Ask, then keep quiet – Once you ask the question, give your client the opportunity to state the answer before you speak again. Don’t try to fill silences or pauses with more talk. Let your client think and answer when ready.
FRONTLINE Selling can help you refine your client communication processes. Contact us today for more information on services that help you prospect more efficiently and close more sales.
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