The Power of Questions and the Neuroscience of Sales Questions
Did you know that simply asking a question tends to monopolize the thoughts of your listener?  The neuroscience of sales questions fascinates us because of a phenomenon called “instinctive elaboration” where being asked a question literally takes over your buyer’s brain. A simple question like, “What is your buying process?” hijacks the buyer’s thoughts and the buying process automatically becomes their whole focus. In fact, while they’re thinking about the buying process, they can’t really think about anything else.

The Research Behind The Neuroscience of Sales Questions
Studies show that not only do questions force the listener to think just about the answer, but they also influence decisions and behaviors. In 1993, for instance, a group of social scientists (Vicki Morwitz, Eric Johnson, and David Schmittlein) worked with over 40,000 participants in a study that showed that just asking someone if they were going to buy a new car in the next six months increased their purchase rates by 35%.

The business sales training related conclusion of this and other studies is that effective sales questions influence the process of decision making because they prompt thinking about a behavior that often ends in action.

The Implication for Solution Sellers
Just think about the implications this research can mean for the kinds of sales questions you ask a potential buyer at different phases in the sales process.   Most sales leaders expect their sales reps to excel at the basics of sales pre-call planning and asking insightful sales questions to uncover needs, provide insights, and build rapport.   The neuroscience of sales questions now gives you another benefit: the “right” sales questions can help move an ideal target client toward specific actions.

Some Examples of Different Sales Questions to Help Move Prospects to Action
One example are sales questions that help move prospects to action versus stalling or going dark in the sales process.  The best are sales questions that will linger in your prospect’s mind long enough to influence their behavior.

  • Assuming we can get you the results we discussed, what are the steps you will go through to reach a good decision?
  • Let’s say we could solve this problem together; how would that benefit you and your team?
  • If the current situation does not improve, what are the implications for you, your team, and the company?

The key is to ask questions that move your prospect to imagine how working together with your proposed solution would help their success. Think of sales questions as tools to strengthen your connection to buyers, encourage their sharing of critical information, and gain influence.

The Bottom Line
As you plan for your next sales meeting with a target customer, think about how the right sales questions can guide them toward a mutually beneficial deal. Are you prepared with sales questions that could positively impact their receptivity toward you and your solution?

To learn more about asking the best sales questions for every client meeting, download The 30 Most Effective Sales Questions to Get Right When Selling Solutions

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