Why Effective Questioning Leads to Sales

December 17, 2020
# min read
Howard Litwak

I talk with clients a lot about effective questioning as part of the sales process. (Notice I said "effective questioning")

Dan Pink gives the reason that questioning is so powerful in his book "To Sell is Human." It's a study of the psychology of moving people aka: Sales. (I do this type of studying so you don't have to if you don't want!)

The significance lies in the core of how questions operate. Let's contrast this first with a statement.

When you make a statement, it can be received passively. This is what happens when you "pitch." And why a pitch so often falls on deaf ears. Telling is not selling. It's certainly not helping a prospect buy from you.

When you ask a question, the receiver is compelled to respond, aloud if the question is direct, or silently if it is rhetorical.

That requires at least a bit of cognitive effort on the part of your prospect or, as researchers say, "more intensive processing of message content." That's the key!

Deeper processing reveals the connection of solid arguments to the prospect and creates clarity for them. Effective questioning allows your prospect to assign meaning in the context of their world, leading them to decide if there is a fit for them to do business with you.

This is why "telling is not selling." And why top sellers in every industry have a list of powerful questions they regularly ask, whether they realize the psychology behind it or not.

Now you know the psychology. You can gain an advantage over your competition and increase your sales if you apply it.

So the next time in a sales call you find yourself wanting to "pitch" or "tell," what will you do? Turn your statement into a question so that you can run it through your prospects brain for processing.

Read the next article in the series:
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