How often do you get vague or nonspecific answers from prospects or customers? There’s a better way to engage them and get to the heart of what they really need or want.

The solution is to ask short questions. Short questions result in longer, more useful answers, while long questions get you short answers that aren’t much help.

You may think you are asking a simple question, but to a prospect that isn’t familiar with your product or service, the question can be too complex.

For example, a question that includes one or more facts often comes off as a statement calling for feedback or agreement. Too often the result is a blank stare, not open dialog.

Better: Ask short questions, like “why?” and “how?” Alternatives: “Could you give me an example?” or “Can you explain that?” The shorter the question, the more likely you will get a long answer– one that gives you the insight you need.

What comes next is another short question, following up what they just said. Like “How?” or “Tell me more.” For best results, drill down into a specific issue.

The payoff, of course, is that the customer is doing all the talking. And along the way you’ll learn exactly what they want and need.

Source: Mark Hunter at

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