It’s no secret that Qualifying Questions have my heart. I am always looking for questions to ask early in the process that will inform selection and the overall project.
My new question (to designers if you’re a trade showroom or to the customer if you’re a retail showroom) is this: “What are the challenges and concerns you have about the project?” Followed closely by: “What are the challenges and concerns you have about the products?” And if YOUR customer is a designer: “What are the challenges and concerns you have about the client?”
And then just listen.
We spend so much time as salespeople looking for wants and desires, when there is just as much buyer motivation (maybe even more, actually) to avoid or fix something. What are they afraid of? What makes them crazy?
Find solutions for those issues. And offer them via the product or as a personal or company service that will help them to solve those nagging.
Which are you looking through when you ask questions?
You probably already know my passion for asking questions – opening and compelling questions, qualifying questions, questions to manage client concerns, closing and commitment questions – I love them all. I love BEING inquisitive and interested in finding out more about the world that the other person is living in.
It’s especially helpful to be inquisitive when exploring projects with a client. To ask project questions assumes that there is a project, rather than responding to a product request with product information. Ask room and space questions, right from the beginning. Think broadly about how the product request from the buyer fits into a larger space and spectrum – and then ask questions from that perspective.
Example – a client asks about a sofa. Instead of immediately responding with details about the sofa, TAKE A BREATH, and ask “I’d love to tell you about this sofa. Can you tell me a bit about the space it’s going into?”
As the seller, we need to have a bigger viewpoint from which to start. You can sell products or you can sell projects…..and you get to say which you sell. By asking project questions from the beginning of the interaction, you become part of the larger landscape and a partner in the selection and discussion of more items in the project. EXPAND your thinking and questions and assume it’s a project that you’re going to be part of. You won’t be disappointed.