📄 Verbs vs interrogatives - how to ask buyers the right questions
The more you ask questions, the more you’ll learn about why someone might be looking to purchase your coaching or consulting work.
Which, obviously, gives you the information you need to figure out if you can or can’t help them - but you need to choose your questions carefully.
For instance: the easiest kind of question to ask, is also the worst:
Binary questions, which usually start with a verb.
“Can you see this working for you?”
“Have you tried other solutions before?”
“Is the problem you describe something you want to solve at this point in time?”
"Should we talk about logistics and pricing?"
You might get a yes, you might get a no… but even a yes isn’t the same thing as a purchase.
And, how do you proceed, after you get an answer to a binary question?
You opened a door, they threw an answer at you, and now you have to come up with another question, from scratch.
This way, you don’t advance the sales process.
Instead, as per Chris Voss of Never Split the Difference fame, try asking questions that start with an interrogative.
“What would make this work for you?”
“What other solutions have you tried before?”
“How urgent is it for you to solve this problem?”
Questions like these are powerful, because they cause the other person to think, to see things from different angles, and to create their own vision.
And, they invite an answer that explores and expands, instead of the rotund "Yes" or "No" that you would otherwise get.
All that is important, because it helps your buyer get a better view - a vision - of either the pain of not solving the problem, or the joy of having solved it.
And it's always their vision, not yours, that causes them to buy in to making a decision to get the problem solved.
Binary questions however suggest that your vision - not theirs - is relevant to them. Which it might be, but they won’t care unless they see that vision too.
That's why you want to avoid asking questions that start with verbs, and instead use questions that start with What, How, Where, Who, When, and so on.
The moment you do that, you'll see your conversations - and your sales process - start improving.
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