Asking Questions vs. Making Statements

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Remember when you were a teenager? Did you ever do anything the way your parents told you to? I didn’t think so. But this behaviour is not limited to teens. Adults behave exactly the same.

In fact it’s basic phychology: no-one likes to be told what to do. Otherwise we would have no over-weight and out-of-shape people. Only after these people find out that their health – or even worse, life  – is under threat do they start obeying the instructions to eat healthy and exercise. The point here is that only after the people themselves discover the reasons for healthy living that they actually start living healthy themselves – even though they have been bombarded with messages and advice about the reasons for years and years. With very little effect.

The stereotypical salesperson likes to tell the customer (what he thinks) the customer needs. Making statements about the superiority of their products and trying to find the most convincing arguments for them is a common practice in the world of traditional salespeople. But why on earth do they think their customers whould be impressed by their arguments – let alone convinced to make a purchase?

Customer-centric salespeople, on the other hand, leverage their expertise not by making statements but by asking intelligent questions. This way they are able to facilitate a discussion about a specific business goal with the customer’s decision maker. This type of approach helps the buyer discover their own reasons that prevent them from getting the business results they are striving for.

This allows the customer’s decision maker to feel in control as there is no pressure from the salesperson who’s trying to help the customer in his or her specific situation. By asking the right questions the salesperson can lead the buyer to discover the solution by his- or herself – thereby also becoming the owner of the solution.

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