On Friday evening my wife and I entered an art gallery and were followed around by a very young sales clerk. Each time we looked at a painting, she felt compelled to tell us who the artist was, where he lived, why the gallery displayed his art, what she liked about him, why people liked his work and how much the piece sells for. But why did she tell us all of this? To drive us nuts? To drive us away? It certainly couldn’t have been to persuade us to make a purchase.

What would have happened if she just asked a question like, “What attracted you this painting?” or “…any particular reason you’re looking at art tonight?” or “Is there a particular room you have in mind?”

Any of those questions would have engaged us, gotten us more interested and moved us closer to purchasing. And if we wanted to know more about the artist, we would have asked!

We walked into another gallery where my wife asked the price of a beautiful painting by an artist whose work we collect. The lady in that gallery quoted the price and never asked another question. If she had simply asked, “Would you like to bring it home?” Deborah would have said “yes”. But she never asked! Instead, she said, “I’ll call the artist and find out when she painted it and I’ll get back to you.” This is consistent with last week’s clip on Urgency. You only get one good chance to close and you have to be ready!

I know these examples are from retail. I know that the selling environment is different from yours. However, the tips apply to all types of selling. Stop providing information that doesn’t cause people to engage or take action. Ask who, what, when, where, why and how questions instead. Baseline Selling – How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball, provides a tremendous amount help, examples, tips, tactics and strategies on asking questions. Read the section on the Infield Why Rule and Getting to 2nd Base.