The other night I was playing a game with my daughter, that has a direct link to some questioning strategies we help clients with. The game is called “Guess Who.”
The concept of the game is each player has a board with different faces or characters and picks one without letting the opponent know which one they selected. The other player has to ask a series of questions to try to figure out who their opponent picked. The first person to guess correctly wins. You only get one question per turn, and you have to ask what we call close-ended questions; such as “Am I a girl? Do I have blonde hair? Etc.” It often takes several turns back and forth to eventually get enough information to figure out who your opponent picked.
The game helps to illustrate that asking a closed-ended question results in yes or no answers that rarely gives us a lot of additional information. It is then back on us to figure out what to ask next with the limited information we just received.
In sales, qualifying is such an important part of the selling process. It is impossible to qualify the true needs, pains or full decision-making process by asking closed-ended questions.
How often are you asking questions that start with the following; do, can, are, have, is, does, would, will, etc.
Each one of these questions results in a yes or no, with very little additional information learned. We also now have a lot of pressure on us to come up with another question.
Instead, try asking open-ended questions, they begin with who, what, when, where and how. My two favorite are ‘what’ and ‘how.’
Open-ended questions allow us to get much more information to better qualify the information given and determine what questions we want to ask next.