Super Agent

Asking Questions Like the Pros

A recent article on FastCompany.com by Shane Snow provides advice on how to ask questions like the pros: Walter Cronkite, Larry King and others effectively formulate questions to provoke meaningful answers and lead the conversation with genuine curiosity and control. The list of journalistic tips Snow provides can also be used by agents to help prospects self-discover risks and successfully lead them through the sales process. Here is Snow’s advice:

(1) Don’t ask Multiple-Choice questions.

For example, asking “What would you do?” is better than asking “Would you do X?” Multiple-choice questions limit the buyer’s answer, and you will ultimately uncover, and help them discover more if you stick to open-ended questions.

(2) Don’t Fish.

Don’t ask questions to seek confirmation or that make assumptions about the buyer. Remember, you are also trying to identify whether or not the prospect is a right-fit to work with you and your agency.

(3) Interject With Questions When Necessary.

Snow says “a good journalist will steer the conversation by cutting in with questions whenever they need to. This helps reign in ramblers and clarify statements before the conversation gets too far ahead to go back.” The same is true of insurance agents. It is important to follow a systematic process in order to comprehensively assess the prospects needs, align goals and objectives, and gain agreements.

(4) Field Non-Answers by Re-framing Questions Later.

Producers often have to probe and dig deeper before a prospect will self-discover risks and reveal what they need. Snow explains that as long as you are genuine and sincere, gaining clarity around questions by reframing them won’t come off badly.

(5) Repeat Answers Back For Clarification, Or More Detail.

It is vital to gain agreements with a prospect as they move through the sales process and to establish clear next steps in order to create mutual accountabilities.

(6) Don’t be Embarrassed.

Snow explains: “the worst kinds of questions are the ones left unasked.”

Using this advice to ask the right questions can help you have successful consultative and client-focused conversations to get prospects on the same page and move toward a mutually beneficial business relationship.

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