Have you ever left a meeting or ended a call only to suddenly think, I wish I had asked them ….., this procrastination is extremely common yet this situation presents a fantastic opportunity to continue the engagement with the client and these situations call for the use of what I refer to as a Colombo question.
For those of you of a certain age, Colombo probably brings a number of images to mind of the TV character Colombo, for those of you reading this who have no idea who Colombo is let me enlighten you.
Colombo was an American crime drama from the 1970s played by Peter Falk he was a shrewd homicide detective whose trademarks include his rumpled beige raincoat and a cigar.
However, the biggest thing he was always remembered for was his stock-in-trade action of leaving a room only to return with the catchphrase "Just one more thing" to ask a critical question.
You see going back to a client or a prospect with a critical question is one of the most positive and powerful actions a sales professional can utilise, it not only keeps the conversation going but more importantly it demonstrates that you are taking a greater interest in their business or the issue you were discussing.
Most salespeople understand the importance of asking questions, but many simply ask questions to provide an opportunity to reply, what separates sales professionals that have mastered the art of asking powerful questions from their colleagues is the realisation that it’s not just about asking questions but asking questions to understand and to gain insight and most important of all it provides the opportunity to ask more questions and gain even greater insight.
They are not only comfortable asking questions but they are at ease asking more challenging and difficult questions and they realise that it’s rarely the initial question that provides true insight and understanding but more commonly the second, third, or the fourth question that provides real understanding.
This is why the Colombo question is so powerful, it creates an additional opportunity to drill down and gain a greater understanding that many salespeople rarely capture.
So the next time you find yourself in a situation where you wished you’d asked that extra question give the Colombo question a try and see for yourself just how powerful it can be.
Until next time happy selling
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