Over the holidays you tend to bump into more sales people than you usually would, running around from shop to shop to find that perfect item.  Interestingly, one of the most common traits we seem to find in good sales-people is their ability to ask good questions.

In fact,  over the years we've chosen to buy from companies where the biggest consideration in choosing them was the fact that they asked intelligent questions during the sales process.  That's not to say the others didn't have a good product, but we didn't decide to buy theirs.

Here's why asking questions doesn't make you look stupid, and how it can help you win that deal.

It Builds Trust

Asking questions about why I'm interested in a product, or what I'm looking to get out of it, makes me feel like you're looking out for me, and that helps me trust that you're not just trying to push a product.

Since a lot of sales are done without ever having a face-to-face meeting, a little thing like this can go a long way in a deal done over email.

It Builds Confidence

Although it might seem like having answers should be the thing that builds confidence, asking good questions shows that you know your business, because you know what information you need to make sure you recommend the best product.

If I'm buying a table from you, asking if I'm looking for a particular type of wood makes me feel much more comfortable than saying "Sure, we've got hundreds!"

It Identifies the Need

By asking a few good questions, you might find that another product might be better suited to my needs than the one I was initially looking at.

Selling a person something they don't need never works out great for anyone.  Taking the time to make sure the product is right means I'll be more than happy to tell everyone how great the product is after I buy it.

Good questions are a great way to sell a product, since you become a sales consultant rather than a sales person, which allows people to let down that "sales guard" that is normally up.