Does it matter what type of question I ask the prospect?
Short Answer – Abso-freaking-lutely!
It depends on what information you are trying to get from the client. Are you asking a question to clarify information/gain confirmation on something OR are you trying to open up a conversation about a particular topic? Are you trying to steer the conversation in a certain direction OR are you trying to leave it up to the Prospect to tell you what is most important to them to talk about? These are all considerations that you need to make when thinking about how you want to ask your questions. Let’s dive deeper.
What are the different types of questions I can ask?
While there are many different ways of answering this question I like to initially boil it down to 2 categories of questions: 1) Open-ended Questions and 2) Closed-ended Questions.
These questions are those that are designed to generate further conversation with a Prospect to learn more about them, how they think, what is important to them etc. These questions typically start with words such as: How, What, Tell me about etc. These are the conversation starters. The opening lines. Good Open-ended questions will tell you more about the client than Closed-ended questions will. They are magic when it comes to truly diving deep with your client, learning about them and building a solid relationship.
Some good examples of Open-ended questions: How do you currently handle Workers’ Compensation Claims? Tell me about your Safety Program. What do you currently have in place for a Benefits Program? How has it performed?
Closed-ended questions are those that allow you to clarify something, gain confirmation or get data. They typically start with words such as: Do, Did, Are etc. and will usually have only a few options for answers – yes/no as an example. These types of questions allow you to get on the same page with the Prospect and also steer the conversation where you need it to go.
Some good examples of Closed-ended Questions: Do you have a Recover at Work Program? How many employees are on your plan? Are you currently doing Pre-employment screens?
How do I know when to ask the right type of question?
It really depends on where you are at in the conversation, what answer/information you are looking for and how you want to get it. By default, I tend to lean towards asking far more Open-ended Questions than Closed-ended. Probably a 90/10 ratio. You never know how a client is going to respond or what is going to be important to them so it is paramount to not lead them down a certain path until you know that. Open-ended Questions are the only way to do that.
Once you have determined what is important to them on this particular topic, then go to Closed-ended Questions to get on the same page and get the data you need to move to the next step. Like anything, practice makes perfect so I would encourage you to role play different scenarios until this becomes second nature.
Until next time.