Asking questions to engage listeners during a demo or presentation is a good thing. Asking the same two questions of your listeners over and over again, however, is not. You sound robotic and they tune you out, rather than tune in to your message. Yet, that is what so many demo presenters do. Is it because they are afraid of the answers they might get if they asked different questions, or, is it that they were never exposed to better, business-building questions? These are the two killers.
- Do you agree?
- Does that make sense?
Certainly, those two closed questions have their place in a presentation, but not to the exclusion of stronger engagement open-ended questions like
- To what extent does this make sense for your group?
- How does this compare to what you are doing now?
- Did you realize you could do this? [No] What would that mean to you to be able to do this?
- Clients really like this feature because they save… What do you think of this capability?
- Who would benefit most from this in your group? Why?
Stumbling vs. Leading
Strings of closed ended questions make the seller sound like a batch of features in search of a need. Does this make sense? No? How about this? Does this make sense? No? Do you agree about this? No? Well, here’s another feature…etc.
Open-ended questions reflect a genuine willingness and courage to have an un-scripted conversation based on a prospect’s response. It is the hallmark of conversational leadership.
Open -ended questions invite reflection, opinion, imagination, additional questions, even concerns–all of which help the buyer think through the value of your offer. AND the answers to these open-ended questions help you select from only the features, benefits, and stories most relevant to your listeners and therefore most likely to make your sale.
Think about your past demos/presentations. What engagement questions do you typically ask? Do your questions show someone who is feeling his/her way or do they reflect someone leading the way to value for the buyer?