How to win friends and influence prospects
Updated: Feb 26
Have you ever been on a sales call with an ideal prospect, but just can't seem to get them to open up or give you the information you need? Maybe they seem closed off to your pitch or are not engaged with your sales process...
There is one way to significantly increase the potential for your prospects to warm to you and close more sales. The best part is that it requires very little effort on your part.
We all know that questions are key in sales. But often, the discovery process can seem almost mechanical, especially if the questions are closed-ended or simply ticking boxes. But if we want to engage prospects and really get them on our side to collaboratively solve their problem, the key is open-ended questions.
Open-ended questions encourage people to share more information. The amount of information one person can give from one open-ended question is almost limitless. And when people talk about themselves, they are triggering feel good ‘reward' chemicals, like dopamine in their brain that make them want to talk more and more (science stuff).
Interestingly, it's the same part of the brain that lights up when you eat a chocolate bar or even partake in the consumption of some recreational drugs (not that we condone that!).
From a sales perspective, this has a powerful effect. You can tap into this reward system of the brain to help your customers to open up and uncover crucial information and insights.
By asking open-ended questions, you quite literally change the mindset and brain chemistry of your prospects. The more they share with you, the more they are likely to continue to do so as the good feelings associated with them talking about themself ramp up.
The way to unlock this is via well thought out QUESTIONS, that are related to your solution. People will genuinely enjoy talking to you because they get to talk about themselves, and it helps you help them because they give you more information about their challenges (that you can solve for them).
Asking questions and actively listening is one of the key concepts in the legendary book "How to win friends and influence people" and is a proven way not only to get people to like you, but to engage your prospects. It's so simple and basic, that it's often overlooked!
Start with easy opening questions that are conversational like how they got started out in their business or what some of their goals for the year are. Then gradually move on to the hard-hitting questions about their specific challenges and the problems they are causing. for example, "What's holding you back from reaching that goal?" or "What happens if you don't get this challenge solved?".
Because you've set the ball rolling with happy chemicals in their brain, they want to keep talking and are more likely to honestly reveal the true pain points and challenges they need solving, so you can step in with a highly relevant, tailored solution.
A series of well placed open-ended questions also creates a deep awareness in your prospect that they really should solve this challenge. Priming them for your ideas on how you can provide that solution.
It's just another reason why questions are the most powerful instrument in your sales toolbox.