We tend to think of conversations as: one person speaks, then the other responds, back and forth, back and forth. For that reason, in sales conversations, we typically feel the need to address an issue as soon as it is raised, whether it’s via a question or a statement.
But that can frequently be the wrong thing to do. Because if we reply to a prospect too soon, we can miss valuable information lurking just below the surface of their statement or question. And if we reply to incomplete information, we can easily say the wrong thing.
So instead of replying to your prospect and moving on to the next issue, exercise some restraint. Dig deeper to uncover more details. Try one of these tactics to encourage them to talk further:
• When you say “_________,” what exactly do you mean?
• What does “__________” look like to you?
• Can you elaborate on that?
• Tell me more.
• Has that been an issue for you in the past?
• I want to be sure I understand—can you clarify that for me?
• What makes you ask that?
• Can you walk me step-by-step through that?
• What’s the reason that’s important to you?
• Can you give me some more detail about that?
The more information you can get from a prospect, the better. So the next time a buyer states a requirement, raises an objection, or asks a question, don’t rush to provide an answer. Ask them to elaborate instead. You’ll get details your competitors won’t get, which means you’ll be able to provide better answers than they can. Because the best answers aren’t the fastest ones, they’re the most complete, most accurate ones.