I was fascinated with the New York Times article, “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love” which references Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall In Love With Anyone Do This.”
The idea is that 36 well-crafted, thought-provoking, emotional questions can cause you to fall in love with anyone. The questions are divided into three sections — each one more probing than the last. The thought is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self- disclosure. Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.”
I was intrigued, so I decided to try it with my husband. After just ten questions, we felt closer—more connected and happier. You can find the full list of questions here.
Why do questions help us build heartfelt connection? And if 36 well-crafted questions can induce love, can 36 properly positioned questions lead to a sale?
Absolutely. Ask the right questions at the right time in the right way — and the answers you receive will set you up for long-term success. The great motivator, Tony Robbins, says that the human brain is a question- answering machine. Ask lousy questions and you’ll get lousy results. Ask better questions, you’ll get better answers.
The questions we ask our customers will dictate how they think…about our products, about us and about whether to buy right now.
The Power of The Right Questions
Specifically, questions do several things. They…
Your job is to ask questions so that you can provide solutions that are specific to your customers’ needs — the WIFM or “What’s in it for me?” Your questions must follow a logical order—in other words, you start by gathering facts, and then progress to deeper questions that uncover customer’s problems and emotional motivators.
Asking good questions in your Discovery — and throughout the sales process — not only helps you uncover buyer needs, it helps you tailor the rest of your sales presentation to those needs.
Here are 18 powerful sales discovery questions to get you started:
- What brings you here to meet with me today?
- What do you like about what you’re doing now?
- Can you give me a little more background to……
- Tell me about your current situation? How long, how much, when?
- How long has this been a problem?
- If you could change anything about your current situation what would it be?
- How severe is the problem?
- Does it affect your (work, marriage, peace of mind)?
- Have you used this type of product/program before?
- What would your neighbor/boss say if you purchased this?
- Is there anything I’ve forgotten?
- Tell me about the worst experience you’ve had with a vendor/salesperson?
- Why are you looking into this now?
- Why is it important to you personally to solve this problem?
- What are the financial costs of not moving forward?
- What are the emotional costs?
- If you could change anything that you know wouldn’t be passible, what would it be?
- What would have to happen to make it possible?
Yesterday’s salespeople merely needed to provide information. But today, buyers can find all the information they need online. So, today’s salespeople need to interpret that information, ask questions, and then spark an emotional need for their product. Few salespeople show the customer how they’ll feel as a result of using their product or service, yet this emotional bond marks the difference between those salespeople, leaders, and companies that inspire, and those whose careers prematurely expire.