Archive for November, 2014

Conversational Selling

November 14th, 2014

Open Ended Questions VS Closed Ended Questions

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann National Director of the Builder Group  Summit Funding and President of Home Builders Edge copyright 2014


Questions are at the heart of a sale.  Ask the wrong questions and you will get the wrong answers.  Good open ended questions uncover facts and motives for buying.  The Salesperson who develops rapport and creates friendships by asking questions, gets the sale because people love to do business with friends.

How do you know that you have mastered asking great questions?  When the prospect says, “That’s a great question, no one has asked me that before!” You are on the right track to being a master.

Do you remember some of your basic sales training when it comes to the types of questions to ask? As you recall, there are two basic types of questions. They are closed end questions and open end questions. The individual situation and type of information you are trying to get often dictates which type of question to use. However, during the initial relationship process, open ended questions should dominate.

Closed Ended Questions

Closed ended are restrictive questions that can be answered very quickly with a simple yes or no or a very limited response. This type of question is useful for obtaining a specific bit of information, data or validation. They are often used in the closing process as well. Examples include questions like:

Do you want me to order our backyard landscaping package for your new home?

Do you prefer our next appointment to be on Monday or Thursday?

Open Ended Questions

Open-ended questions do not lead the customer and they do not require a simple answer. Open ended questions seek to gain a better understanding of the customer by getting them to reveal much more about their objectives, needs, current situation and personality profile. Examples include questions like:

Can you tell me the top six things you are looking for in your new home?

Share with me 6 things you do you not like about your current home?

What are the important hobbies, sports and holidays that you do in your home?

It’s easy when you lay your questions out open ended, like this;

  • What do you look for…?
  • What have you found…?
  • What makes you choose…?
  • What has been your experience…?
  • What is the one thing you would improve…?
  • What are the deciding factors when…?
  • What would you change about…?
  • Tell me about…?
  • Tell me how…?
  • Tell me what you…?
  • How do you feel about…?
  • How did you get…?
  • How did your…?

Remember when you script your questions to ask yourself, “Does this get the customer talking? Does this ask them to reveal something about themselves that I need to know in order to sell them something?  If not, change it up and try it.  I like to practice what I write down on my clients.  Then I refine it a couple of times until I get the perfect question.  Then I use it over and over again with each client interview.

What is the perfect question, you ask?  One that gets my client talking instead of me!


These are simple rules about a simple concept and yet it is amazing how many sales people, even experienced sales people forget to apply them. Sales are not easy especially when the economy is struggling. So ….. Print these seven simple sample open ended questions, fill in your subjects and have your sales force keep them close at hand. Maybe just this little reminder may make a difference during these tough times when they are out trying to increase sales.

Happy Sales!

Are you “In” or “Out” of Shape?

November 5th, 2014
By Shirleen Von Hoffmann President & Sales Coach Homebuilder’s Edge Copyright 2009
Everyone wants to be “IN shape”? Being”IN” shape is more than just working out your body.  Being in Sales Shape means working out your career skill-sets. To get “IN” Shape, you have to constantly improve in at least three areas:  food intake, cardio fitness and working your muscles.  You work on those three items and you end up with muscles that are defined and work well.   The same goes for your Sales Career, What you intake to your brain, matters.  Staying fit by updating your sales routine matters and  working out your sales muscles, keeps them in shape with defined goals give you the endurance to be on top of your career.

Are you “IN” or” OUT” of “Sales Shape” ?

racing pic


If you take a look at critical components of learning, are you:

  • Reading everything possible to improve your skill as a sales person?
  • Meeting new people inside and outside your profession so that you are learning, growing and networking with others?
  • Failing?  Are you taking enough risk and failing periodically in your career so that you stretch your imagination and hone your skills?
  • Growing? Are you growing your sales skills and practicing techniques, scripting and closing?

Or are you “OUT ”

Do you:

  • Tell people how you’ve been in the business for so many years and how many training sessions you’ve been to and that you know it all?
  • Stay away from conferences and networking groups and isolating your circle of “experts” to those people that you’ve been hanging around since you started your career?  In other words, you are continuing to do what has worked for you in the past.
  • Act like you know it all when the truth is you don’t even practice the basic sales skills like getting a name and using it or getting contact information and actually following up and closing.
  • Boast about sales you did in the past but actually you are falling behind the pack or being on top in your organization?
  • Recent Trainers, Coaches or Sales Managers who come in and try to teach you new skills or sharpen old skills?
  • Notice “newbies” who come in sharp, with great energy and attitude passing you up on the “likable list” with the Sales Manager? Do you give these same “newbies’ a hard time?

Be tough on yourself.  Be honest with yourself.  Really ask yourself if you’ve allowed yourself to get comfortable with your routine, a little rusty and just a bit lazy with sharpening your saw?  Most importantly have you let your attitude slip into a negative place?

If you can identify with items mentioned above, then you may, in fact, be in “OUT” of Sales Shape.  And by being “OUT”, you just may find yourself being put “OUT”.

In today’s marketplace, with competition becoming tougher and tougher, companies are expecting more results with less revenue.  If you find you are “OUT”, you must have a plan to start fresh and get “IN” shape because  it’s only a matter of time before your Manager decides it’s time to get a sales team that’s “IN” shape.

Today’s formula to be Sales Fit: 

  • Commit to reading one book a month on business, selling or self – improvement
  • Commit to attending a conference at least once a year that focuses on selling.
  • Commit to being the best at what you do in your market space.
  • Make a commitment to take a few sales risks a day and increase those risks until they are routine and not risks.
  • Commit to discovering your weaknesses and working on them until they become your strong points.
  • Commit to arriving each day with a positive attitude much like the one you had when you first entered the business. Only you can decide to be happy with your work each day.  No one else can decide that for you.

Start today and get yourself “IN” Sales Shape.  Read endlessly, learn something new every day that you can apply to your sale profession.  Commit to being a lifelong learner, not just from reading books, but also by experiences and from the people you meet.  Being a lifelong learner will lead you to become a lifelong earner.

Get “IN” Sales Shape today and find yourself healthier, happier, more prosperous and loving your sales career!

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