Need Sales? Listen More by Talking Less

Posted by Andrew Greess on Feb 22, 2013

Sales Tip of the Week from Mike Leeds – Pro Sales Coaching

How to get the most out of your questions to customers...

When asking questions, it is very common to ask "closed-ended" questions which often result in a "yes or no" answer, or a single word answer. This is the main reason that sales people end up speaking an average of 78% of the time, and only listening 22% of the time during a conversation.  If we want as much information as possible to help our customer with solving a problem or a need, we need to flip these numbers and begin listening 78% of the time. The key is to ask "open-ended" questions to probe for information.

I'd like to share with you two tips for asking "open-ended" questions: First, try to limit your questions that begin with "do", "can", "is" or "are". The answers to these questions will often be a single word, forcing many sales people to make the mistake of asking more closed ended questions (the interrogation technique). Second, focus on questions that start with "How" or with a first letter of "W" (i.e. What, Why, Who, Where or When). These questions will allow your customer to expand their answers so you can quickly and accurately determine their need. The result is your customer will be doing the talking, while you are actively listening, taking notes, and asking follow-up questions for more information.

Examples of some open-ended questions that will create great dialog:

  • How do you measure success?
  • What issues or challenges are you encountering?
  • Where do you see your business expanding?

Try this technique, and let me know how it works for you.

Mike Leeds is a terrific sales coach.  Please visit his website at

His techniques will help pest control & weed control professionals grow their business.

Thanks Mike!