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Tom’s 12 Goals for Asking Good Questions

Questions must always be asked for a specific purpose. Here are the 12 goals you need to accomplish when questioning a potential client.

1. Use questions to get control of and to maintain control of the selling process.

2. Ask questions to determine the “big picture” of their needs and wants. Continue using questions to narrow down the focus until you have enough information to provide the best solution to their challenge.

3. Ask questions to get a lot of “yes” responses so you create a trend that will get the final “yes” that closes the sale.

4. Ask questions to awaken the other person’s emotions so you can direct those emotions toward a desire to own the benefits.

5. Ask questions to determine areas of concern. Once you know the true concern, you can start demonstrating not only how the prospect can afford your product, but how that investment will potentially produce genuine earnings over time.

6. Ask questions to address areas of concern. This is called the “porcupine” technique. What would you do if someone threw a porcupine in your lap? You’d throw it back. That’s exactly what you do in this situation. Answer a question with a question. Use this technique and you won’t get “stuck” in an ineffective presentation.

7. Ask questions to determine the benefits that will trigger the sale. People aren’t buying stocks or bonds. They’re buying a better lifestyle and an independent future. They’re not buying financial planning. They’re buying their retirement dreams and goals. They’re not buying long-term care insurance. They’re buying peace of mind. Understand that basic fact, and make your presentation using those terms.

8. Ask questions to acknowledge a fact. This is an absolute rule in sales: If you state a fact, the potential client can doubt you; if a potential client states that fact, it’s true. Use your questioning techniques to help your prospective client understand and restate those important facts.

9. Ask questions to confirm that you can move on to the next step in the sales process.

10. Ask questions to involve them in ownership decisions and thoughts about the product you are offering.

11. Ask questions to help them rationalize the decisions they want to make. Those folks wouldn’t be in your office if they didn’t already know they need financial services. You just need to reconfirm the wisdom of their decision.

12. Ask questions that close the sale. “As I see it, the only major decision we have to make is how quickly to begin having your money make money. Would you prefer to go with a yearly, quarterly or monthly amount?”

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