Questioning and Listening

Questions  (1)Why do we need questioning and listening?




  • What type of questions a salesman needs to ‘unlock’ their customer.
  • How they are used?
  • How a perfect conversation works?
  • Some watch outs.
  • Viral question planning.
  • Using questioning and listening to build a platform.


Types of questionsOpen questions

Open questions are designed to get information.

They help you to get the other person to talk.

Any question which gets lots of information back and the other party talking is classified as an Open Question

Open Questions – how to remember them

Think of 5 naked rugby players sitting on a set of rugby posts –

Rugby Questions 1What?





The posts make the H of How?


Probing 1Probing questions are designed to get details.

You may need to deploy more than one to ensure you have enough details to work with.

Any question which seeks details from the other person is classified as a Probing Question


Probing questions are designed to get details.

NLQ 1Like a squirrel you might need to really go looking for the information you need.

Children are good at this … looking for the reason…

The nugget of useful information

They use a technique called the 5 Why’s

Why? Why?  Why? Why? Why?


When Probing – sometimes you ‘feel’ the other person evading your question and you ‘Jump out’ of the funnel – this creates a Next Logical Question NLQ or Next Natural Question NNQ

NLQ 2This is vital information you might need to fully understand the other person and if you miss the NLQ – it is lost forever.

It is much easier to see NLQ’s when you are not under pressure listening, the more relaxed you are the better you listen.

Listening takes practice, you need a good attitude to WANT to listen.




Rhetorical 1Rhetorical questions are designed to check understanding.

  • The air has moved as you spoke
  • It has gone into my head via my ears
  • I have assessed it against other stuff I have experienced in the past
  • This is what I think you mean
  • Am I correct?

Rhetorical questions are wonderful – because they show you are listening

They show you are trying to understand

They give you time to think and to watch the other persons reaction … you can think 8 times faster than you talk!

Plus if you get it wrong the other party will correct you with no animosity.

Full funnel QuestionsClosed questions are designed as a full stop.

To bring the current area of discussion to a close.

Any question which has a short ‘one word’ answer from the other person is classified as a Closed Question


So a conversation might go as follows Open:Probe;Probe;Rhetorical;Closed

Person 1

Where did you go on holiday? (OPEN QUESTION)

Person 2                                                                                                              Africa

Not enough information

Person 1

Where in Africa did you go? (PROBING QUESTION)

Person 2                                                                                                              Kenya

Still not enough information… I need a better question…

Person 1

What was the best bit of your trip to Africa? (PROBING QUESTION)

Person 2                                                                                                               Well, the best bit was when we took a trip in a hot air balloon and we saw all the animals cross the plain and then go down into the river – across the river and past the waiting crocodiles, they climbed up the other side and continued there journey across the plain.

Person 1

So what you are telling me is that the best bit of your trip to Africa was when you… took the trip by

hot air balloon and saw all the animals cross the plain and the river – past the crocodiles, before

continuing their journey across the plain once more.  (RHETORICAL QUESTION)

Person 2                                                                                                              Correct

Person 1

Would you go to Africa again? (CLOSED QUESTION)

Person 2                                                                                                              Yes I would


Questions and The salesman’s DilemmaWindy q 1

A good salesman gathers information until they get a link in the information to the product they want to sell then they POUNCE

The other person ‘feels’ the change and will view you as an opportunist who is looking after himself!




Windy questions 2A world class salesperson will carry on gathering information without showing that a link has been spotted to his product, at some stage the World class salesman will offer to help the other person by solving a pressing issue and at the same time – as if by chance,  the solution will also include the purchase of his product.

This person will see you as trying to help them, rather than sell your product to them.




Questions and viral planning

We have discussed in other ‘Blueprint skill shots’ the importance of planning for the world class salesman. Planning is where we look for the viral questions which will help us to uncover the needs which we can satisfy. Now we understand the 4 types of questions – let’s understand how we use viral question planning to help.

Questions 6Viral questions revolve around the central need.

We prepare questions which allude to the needs associated with our product – but never mention it.


We have discussed in other ‘Blueprint skill shots’ the importance for the world class salesman of linking features to benefits


If you would like to find out how a world class salesman would use these features to get a sale – visit

Blueprint Skill Shot – Features to Benefits

Features of a:-

Satellite navigation system’



Measures ETA [estimated time of arrival]

Post code driven


Places of interest

Take on foot

Sound on or off

Any vehicle

Can be lent to others


We have a satellite navigation system to sell:

Areas to explore:

Do you work in an office?

If they travel around – discuss where they go, how often, do they go to new places, how do they find them, do they ever get lost

Do you play sport?

If they do, what sort of sport, do they play for a team, do they have away fixtures, how do they know where to go, are they ever late, how does that make them feel, how about their team mates?

Do you have children?

Do they go to visit friends, who takes them, who collects them, how do you know where their house is, how do you find it, what happens if you can’t how do you feel?

What do you do in your spare time?

Sport, visit, travel on holiday –how do they pick destinations, how do you find your way, do you ever get lost, what happens if you are late, how do you feel

How busy is your work day?

Do you have timed meetings, how do you judge traffic, how do you know what time you will arrive, what is acceptable late, how do you feel if someone is late for you, how do you feel if you are late, any really bad examples?


Reasons for ineffective listening:Listening

Lack of Attention



Wishful thinking


Being Closed Minded

Too busy Talking


Active Listening Skills

Listen to learn something, not to contradict something

Maintain eye contact, to show you’re listening, ask pertinent questions where appropriate.
Take notes, if appropriate

Look for important statements in what the person is saying

Play back what you have heard to ensure that you have got the key points


and remember….

…there is always MoreThan1Answer…