Open Door Questions

In our past few blogs, we’ve been talking about the great sales technique called Reversing. Reversing is an approach we use, where we answer questions with questions, designed to disarm the prospect and create trust. If trust is established, you have a much greater chance of uncovering the prospect’s pain and gaining a sale. This blog is the last in our series on Reversing, and shows you how to open doors you assumed were already closed.

Salespeople sometimes make the mistake of assuming they understand the motive behind a prospect’s question, and jump right into answering the question, only to find they’ve been set up. Savvy prospects may use tricks like the trap and test question, designed to box a salesperson in to a corner. Here’s an example:

Prospect: “Do your sensors have fast response times?”

Most salespeople who sell sensors with fast response times will respond proudly and quickly without thinking.

Salesperson: “Yes, our sensors respond in milliseconds”.

Prospect: “Well, we don’t need response and don’t want to pay more for something we don’t need”.

Smiling slyly, the prospect knows they have just boxed the salesperson in to a corner.

A smartly trained Sandler expert, would have asked a reversing question instead, something like:

Salesperson: “Well, actually, that’s a great question. I don’t get that question too often. Our sensors… please, tell me, do you need fast response times?”

This reverse response is called the “start-stop reverse”. Did you notice the start-stop? Let’s breakdown the reverse so you can see.

“Well actually, that’s a great question (stroke). I don’t get question too often. (another stroke) Our sensors (stops – the salesperson looked like they were going to answer but stop and ask another question) Please tell me (softening statement) do you need fast response times?” (reverse question)

This technique comes across as spontaneous to the prospect and throws them off, but in reality, it is “prepared spontaneity”. It’s another very effective way of getting prospects to loosen up and reveal some pain. This technique also helps you stay out of the traps that prospects may try to lure you into, throwing you into a box, and keeps you in the game. You still have a chance to make a deal.

An expert salesperson should analyze the prospect’s question to understand their true intent, before offering a response. When you begin to master the reversing techniques, you will do this without much thought, and reverse your prospect into trusting you and sharing pain. If there’s enough pain, and you have the solution, your sales numbers will increase dramatically.

These reversing techniques are awesome, but be smart, and don’t over do it. If some asks what time it is, you don’t have to say, “great question… why did you ask me that at this time?” It is okay to just look at your watch and give them the correct time!

By the same token, if prospects ask the same question twice in a row, you must answer it. Don’t try to reverse it again. If you do, you’re going to break your bonding and rapport and maybe even make them angry. But (and it’s a big but), if prospects do ask the same question twice, you can and should reverse after you answer the question:

Salesperson: “Our response times vary. We have sensors that respond in milliseconds and others that have response times up to 15 to 20 seconds. Can you tell me why you asked?”

Reversing is a powerful selling technique that will help you uncover your prospect’s pain. Make sure to use it only when the prospect feels safe and you’ve established bonding and rapport. Add Reversing to your sales tool box and you’ll have an effective technique that’ll help your prospects relive their pain. And as you know, Pain leads directly to the Money.