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All successful sales people in recessions recognise the need to stop talking and apply the laws of persuasion and influence. Most sales people, when they see the first sign of an opening to talk will launch into their standard sales pitch. Most customers will switch off after the first 30 seconds.

The most valuable technique in selling is to ask questions. Find out what the issues, needs and requirements are first before you go into your pitch. The best sales people know when and how to ask the right questions. Simple? Well, of course, you’ve all been taught how to ask open ended questions instead of closed questions. In fact, many courses will spend a day if not two telling you about “who, what, why, when, which, how” and will draw diagrams to remind you of the powerful six openers.

So if it’s that simple, we should all be rich, shouldn’t we? Without a doubt, open questions are useful. They encourage your customer to talk (and you to listen), but you have to add a bit more substance to the question to make them even more powerful. You need to use your questions to create value in the minds of your customer. These questioning techniques are proven to be more successful, particularly when you’re dealing with relationship selling rather than one off.

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