The Art of Questions

In addition to being a band from Australia, Art vs Science is a way to think about sales questioning.

The Science – I’m not saying there isn’t a process. Sales certainly has steps to follow and many times, going out of order is bad (dogs & cats living together… mass hysteria! to quote Ghost Busters). Let’s move on to The Art!

I recently read a great blog on What Makes Art, Art? and I’m going to start with three ideas from there on what makes art:

  • perception of the viewer
  • intention of the creator
  • interpretation

Most interesting to me was the order, so we’re going to work from there!

Perception of the Prospect/Customer

In sales we need to begin with the other person in mind. Consider the language that you use when it comes to perception!

What words do your prospects and customers use to describe:

  • projects
  • problems
  • situations
  • their job
  • their company

NOW incorporate their words into your questions.

Of course, just like in art – the background, education, and experience of the person on the other side of a question will affect how they perceive what you’re asking. WOW that is a lot to think about.

PLUS: What role will timing play into their perception of the question being asked?

Salesperson’s Intent

We’re back to intention I know, I know you’ve already heard about this. I can’t stress enough that your thoughts will come across in your voice and have a huge impact on your prospects’ and customers’ perception (see above).

In telesales – I find the number one intention that affects perception = BOREDOM, yup – that you’ve left one billion voicemail messages and no one is calling you back…. comes across when a human answers the phone!

Perhaps more importantly, the intention we aren’t consciously choosing  can have the largest affect on our questioning success. Typically NOT in a good way either.

Choose your intention – don’t let it choose you.

Interpretation of the Conversation

This is where I see the prospect/customer’s perception merging with the salesperson’s intention. Ultimately – just like with art, if the artist has to argue with the view on what a piece means…. everyone is in trouble.

The difference is I may still buy art, even if I don’t agree with the artist’s explanation of the work. I will NOT buy from a salesperson if we don’t merge my perception with their intention.

That is probably more than enough random rambling for one day.


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