How often does this happen? You ask your prospect a question, have a pretty good sense of what the answer should be, and their answer is not what you expected? For most salespeople it happens a lot. I have written a lot about questioning skills and listening skills but for this challenge, you’ll need listening skills and observation skills.

Many salespeople know how to ask a good question but they don’t notice when the prospect’s answer differs from the answer they expected. When salespeople aren’t aware that the answer is different, most will work off the answer they get, even when that sends them down the wrong path.

Suppose you ask a simple question like, “How you doing?” Your prospect answers, “Good” while he shrugs his shoulders. What do you do?

What you should say is, “You said ‘good’ but your body language said ‘not so good’. What’s wrong?”

What if you sell accounting services and you ask your prospect, “What’s the biggest frustration you have in the area of accounting?”

Your prospect answers, “my accountant’s OK.  I like him.” Wrong answer. She didn’t answer your question. You asked about frustrations. What do you do? You ask a little differently this time. You say, “I’m glad you like him. But that makes it even harder if you’re frustrated. What frustrates you the most?”

Listening and observing. They make your questioning skills go further. They’ll help you get to real issues much more quickly. Start listening and watching for the right answers to your questions today and see how much more effective you can be!