Sales: Frame your questions with context
Shortly after John Paul II became pope, he was interviewed by an Italian journalist, Vittorio Messori. That interview became the best-selling book, "Crossing the Threshold of Hope.â€
I read the book. It was memorable for many reasons. One in particular was the way in which the journalist asked his questions, or more accurately, "framedâ€ them. His first question of the newly elected pontiff covered a page and a half...just the question! Salespeople could borrow a page from Messori’s technique.
In the world of conducting sales interactions, questions should be framed, not simply asked. Why?
- The information we’re looking for is usually very different from the question we need to ask to get that information.
- A point we want to communicate is often communicated more effectively if the point is not communicated verbatim.
- We can sometimes leverage Seek Mode to tell the customer things about our company’s expertise, experience, strengths, qualifications, etc. by communicating those things in the form of a question to the customer instead of a statement about us.
- We can sometimes call attention to our competitor’s weakness, deficiencies, lack of qualifications/expertise without ever mentioning them directly or indirectly. In other words, the customer merely has to connect a few simple dots to draw the correct conclusion.
Framing is, simply, the art of adding context and interest to questions.
Here’s a simple illustration.