Can I help you?

I think you’ve heard the question so many times. It’s the typical ‘Closed question’. What’s a closed question? It’s a question that you can answer with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. But it’s not a question that give you much to work with. It just doesn’t lead anywhere. And it’s the worst question to open up with. Why? Well, if you ask someone: ‘Can I help you?’ and they reply with a simple ‘No’ – what are you going to do? The conversation dies. Your opening is not really an opening because it doesn’t open up to anything…

“The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions.”

― Claude Levi-Strauss

Sure, a closed question can absolutely be useful but only when you know what you want. There is a hierarchy amongst different types of questions in the sales process but I’ll come back to this later. Usually the closed question is used when you are looking to do just that – close a sale.

There are many different types of sales methodologies and one that do use closed questions deliberately is one that relies on the fact that the more times you say ‘Yes’, the harder it will be to say ‘No’. Therefore you ask questions that can only be answered with a ‘Yes’. Let me give an example:

– Do you at times find your home to be messy?
– Yes.
– Would you like to clean your home less frequently?
– Yes.
– Would you like to get a more efficient result when you clean your home?
– Yes.
– If I could solve this for you, would that be interesting?
– Yes…

You see how it goes? The questions are only there for one reason, for you to say ‘Yes’. and the more yes you say the more your brain will want to continue to say yes… This might be good sales in terms of dollars but not in terms of actually listening to the customers needs.

Here’s today task for you:

  1. Think about your way of working with closed questions. How does that align with your sales process? Or even more so, how does your way of selling align with whom you as a company say you are or want to be?

To sell from the heart is to make everything work together. To make sure that the customer see you as ‘One’ company. Your values will always show – sooner or later.


Author: Daniel Bergqvist

Dad of three, husband, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, marketeer and more. Love life with family, friends and work. A heart for change and sales.