Using Questions to Identify with Customers and Ramp Up Sales


“Good questions get to the heart of the problem/need/situation very quickly — without the buyer feeling like he or she is being pushed.” Jeffrey Gitomer

Although this may seem to run counterintuitive to a copywriter’s natural inclination, in sales you should be listening 80% of the time and talking only 20%.


Because you need to ask the right questions if you want to find out your prospect’s real problem and position your product or service as the solution.

Let’s start with some assumptions most of us make when it comes to customers… and then let’s look at the reality of the situation…

Assumption #1: Customers know what they want.

Fact: Customers know they want something. That’s why they’re on your website. But there’s a big difference between someone knowing exactly which outfit they want to buy and just knowing they want something new.

If they know they want something, but they’re not sure what, then they’re visiting the website in the hope of finding answers.

Assumption #2: Customers get all the information they need from the Web.

Fact: A customer’s information is only as good as their research. They may be hoping to find better information on your site. Or, at the very least, they may be open to learning more.

Assumption #3: Customers are all about price.

Fact: Customers can always find somewhere cheaper to buy. What most smart consumers look for is value.

To drive higher sales, you need to change the assumptions you’ve made… and the questions you’re asking customers. Instead of assuming customers know what they want, ask yourself, “What are they trying to solve?”

Here are a few ideas to consider incorporating into your sales conversations that will help answer that question. These are useful both for asking a potential client and for asking members of your target audience while working on a project… if you have the opportunity to do so.

1) Ask questions that will make prospects think in new ways — When doing research about your audience, ask questions that will prompt prospects to give you information about their past experiences with the product or service (or similar products/services).

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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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