As a professional telemarketer, one of the most important things you can do is to build rapport and trust with your prospects. One of the best and most effective ways to do this is by knowing the best questioning techniques to gain important information from the person on the other end of the phone. When you ask your prospect questions, you demonstrate a genuine interest in them and their organisation. When you show an interest, it shows that you care, which makes the prospect more willing to engage in a conversation surrounding your offerings.
To understand how to ask the right questions to your prospects, we need to understand the different types of questions and how they work in sales conversations. The following question techniques will give you more insight into how questions can be used to your advantage and the right times to use them in conversation.
Why you need to ask questions in telemarketing
When you practise questioning techniques, it opens the door to more collaborative conversation. Many people have formed a negative opinion about telemarketers because of those who simply follow a script and don’t try to understand a prospect’s circumstance. Asking questions is a vital part of the sales conversation for the following reasons:
- Questions help to build rapport
- Question techniques will gain you different kinds of information
- Asking questions can help you build trust with your prospects
- Questions help telemarketers remain in control of the conversation
- Questions are vital for clarifying certain points, whether they are useful facts or for understanding more about the prospect’s situation.
The key to successful telemarketing calls is clear, open, and honest communication. The important thing to remember with any sales call is that it is a conversation just like those in social scenarios. Asking questions makes you much more relatable to your prospects, as it makes them feel heard. The following types of question techniques will allow you, as a telemarketer, to effectively communicate with your prospect in a way that will benefit you both.
Closed questions call for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Although not using these types of questions throughout the conversation, they are useful for several reasons. You can use closed questions as a method for guiding the conversation, ensuring you stay in control.
Closed questions are also great for ensuring that you’ve understood something correctly and reassuring the prospect that they matter to you and that they have been heard. Some examples of closed questions include:
- “Do you use this product in your day-to-day operations?”
- “Can you confirm that I have understood your current situation correctly?”
- “Is this something that could interest you?”
With these types of questions, you can establish whether or not a prospect is a good lead, understand the prospect’s context and how your offerings may fit into that context, and help you ensure that you understand where the prospect is coming from.
However, you cannot rely only on closed questions to carry out a sales conversation. If you do this, the entire phone call will make the prospect feel like they are in an interview. Too many closed questions are also highly impersonal, as they do not let the prospective client speak, disallowing the telemarketer to build rapport with the prospect.
In order to form more of a connection with a prospect and position yourself as a trustworthy service or product provider, you need to use other questioning techniques, such as the use of open questions or leading questions.
Before you ask open questions, you should have conducted a series of closed questions to establish some fundamentals about the prospect’s circumstance to ascertain whether or not the products or services you offer will be of any use to the person on the other end of the phone.
Based on this information, you can bring in what are known as open questions. Open questions are very prospect-specific. This means no two people will have the same answer to an open question. These types of questions are perfect for getting to know your prospect a little more as they give the prospect a chance to speak, which you should use as an opportunity to learn more about them and their organisation.
Some examples of open questions are as follows:
- “Is there anything your current supplier could do to improve their service?”
- “Who is the person responsible for procuring these products for your company?”
- “What else would you need from us to make our solution work for you?”
- “How do you feel about switching suppliers if it saved you money in the long run?”
One of the easiest ways to identify an open question is by how it starts. Open questions typically start with inquiring words such as how, what, why, or who. By using open-ended questions as a questioning technique, you enable the conversation to develop and allow yourself to fully understand how you may be able to assist the prospect.
Leading questions are a questioning technique used to guide the prospect into making a decision, but through making them feel as though they have an active role to play in the overall outcome of the sales conversation. Remember, questioning techniques are not manipulation tactics. You should never try to manipulate a prospect into purchasing a product or service from you. This is another reason many telemarketers get a bad rap in the trade.
Leading questions open up the possibility for collaboration and usually follow other questions like closed questions and open questions. They are usually used to draw the conversation to a conclusion or to set up a follow-up conversation.
Some examples of leading questions may sound like this:
- “Why don’t we set up a time for a demonstration?”
- “If that sounds good to you, should I get my team to send over a contract?”
They ultimately drive the prospect to decide and help bring the conversations to a natural close.
Practising question techniques
The next time you’re on a sales call, keep these techniques in mind and try to think about their purpose. When you enter into a sales phone call with intention, it becomes far easier to maintain control over the phone while building trust with your prospects. When you manage to work collaboratively with your prospects, it increases your chances of having successful sales phone calls.