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8 Reasons to Develop Good Questioning Skills

March 3, 2015

“Target Business Network Concept” by ddpavumbaSam, a new producer, was getting plenty of at-bats but struggling to secure business.  He had been taught to gather just enough data to obtain competitive bids, but had not been schooled on how to ask good, open-ended questions with the goal of establishing credibility and confidence with the prospect.

According to a recent Aberdeen study of the Five Critical Sales Skills, 86% of salespeople fail to ask the best/right questions.  Additionally, Aberdeen discovered that poor questioning skills lead to resistance in the form of objections later in the sales cycle.  These objections translated into viewing the engagement as a transaction focused on price and product.

In a Beyond Insurance workshop, Same learned the art of asking thoughtful, simple and insightful questions to engage the customer.  Building rapport with clients and prospects through superior questioning skills immediately enhanced Sam’s ability to:

  1. Connect in a more personal way
  2. Discover needs and issues
  3. Agree on those needs and issues
  4. Gauge the real interest of a prospect
  5. Manage the conversation
  6. Determine what’s most important to them
  7. Create a better outcome in the future, and
  8. Gain commitment

Asking open-ended questions also pointed Sam toward influencers who were involved in the final decision-making process.  He quickly became skilled at asking the following questions:

“What do you see as the strengths of your business?”

“If we are sitting here three years from today looking back, what does success look like?”

“What keeps you awake at night?”

When his clients answer these questions, Sam expands a little more by asking them, “Can you tell me a little more about that?”  Using these three questions, Sam’s life has changed dramatically.  He is now pleasantly surprised at how much he is learning and the difference it has made in helping him establish deeper relationships.  And his new business hit ratio has skyrocketed.

By developing good questioning skills, Sam was soon able to focus on the emotions that his clients were feeling during interactions with him.  He was able to provide his clients with more value and make his engagement about them – not about his products, his agency, or himself.

Sam recently told Beyond Insurance that asking effective questions made him feel like a Trusted Advisor.  The simple art of asking good questions differentiated him and gave him a competitive edge.  What questions do you ask?

Changing the Game…to Create Home Field Advantage can help you learn more about differentiating your agency by developing the right questioning skills.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 31, 2015 2:50 pm

    Your item on questioning skills, Scott, rings so true. This is something that Sales Leaders should be working on all the time with their Producers. Like other important things in life, it can be so easy to get rusty on a vital skill. It’s almost like cleaning your teeth: thought about meeting questions should be a daily activity for Producers who wish to go places. Your article was a wake up call for all of us. Best, Peter Arthur-Smith

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