How are you? What’s your favorite movie? Where are you from? Questions like these are part of almost every conversation. After all, questions are what often keep a dialogue going. Good questions are important in our daily interactions, but in sales, they are crucial. A poor question can kill a deal, while well-worded question will get a potential customer to open up about what is important to them and will allow you to make a value proposition.
So how do you ask really good questions? Good question! I believe the answer lies with Open+, the innovative questioning process developed by the one and only Peter Chun, VP of Inside Sales at Lucidchart. We are all familiar with open-ended questions like the ones listed above. These types of questions require more than a “yes” or “no” answer, but Open+ takes open questions to the next level. It is a way to ask a question without the question mark and is more powerful than you might expect. Instead of asking who, what, when, where or why questions, you ask TED questions:
T—Tell me about…
- Your company
- Your favorite hobby
- Your career
E—Explain to me…
- Your organization structure
- Your role within your team
- Your procurement process
D—Describe to me…
- Your vision for your company
- Your requirements for the tool
Open+ questions open the conversation up and allow the other person to answer with greater detail. Instead of closing the conversation off and backing yourself into a corner, Open+ questions allow you to expand the conversation naturally. Follow-up questions become an easy next step instead of a rehearsed and awkward transition. Remember that when you are having a conversation with anyone, prospective friend or client, you are looking to learn more about them, and the absolute best way to get them talking is to use Open+ questions.
Start practicing Open+ questions in your day-to-day conversation. It may feel awkward at first, but with practice, you’ll be an Open+ pro in no time. Below is a diagram of everyday questions that can easily be changed to Open+.
Try swapping out normal questions for Open+ with family, friends, and clients alike. You will be amazed by how much deeper your conversations are and how much more the other person is willing to tell you. When you are on the phone with a new prospective client and are having a hard time getting them to open up, try Open+ to get them talking. When you don’t understand a new process or project, use Open+ to gain a deeper understanding. When you are concerned about a friend or family member, ask Open+ questions. The more you use Open+ questions in your daily conversations, the easier it will get to add them in your prospecting calls.
Open+ questions will open your conversation to a new level of understanding, and you will be able to converse on a much deeper level than you have ever before experienced. Try it out—you’ll be amazed by the results.
About the author
Samantha Nielsen is in Account Development at Lucidchart. She focuses on providing Enterprise level solutions to industry leaders around the world. Samantha is a graduate of BYU’s Information Systems program and is passionate about technology and how it can be used to solve business needs. She enjoys meeting new people, delivering quality solutions, and cultivating business relationships.
Lucidchart, a cloud-based intelligent diagramming application, is a core component of Lucid Software's Visual Collaboration Suite. This intuitive, cloud-based solution empowers teams to collaborate in real-time to build flowcharts, mockups, UML diagrams, customer journey maps, and more. Lucidchart propels teams forward to build the future faster. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit lucidchart.com.