Questions are the Holy Grail of Sales

I think most sales professionals are suffering at a level they’re not even really aware of. And it’s because they haven’t challenged how they try to connect and create influence.

During this video and blog post, I’m going to talk to you about three things that you can do to immediately begin to create deeper levels of connection and faster percentages of conversion. And I’m going to tell you how this particular idea can absolutely eliminate your competition. Stay to the very end, because I have something at the very end that I want to make sure you absolutely get as we roll through this.

Sales People Talk Too Much

So here’s what I learned early on in my sales career. I learned that sales people talked too much, and I also learned that sometimes what comes out of their mouth cannot be taken back. And I remember as a brand new loan originator, I was talking to a real estate agent and one of the things my company said that they wanted me to promote was our new jumbo ARM product. And this is in the early eighties. And it was a new product. Today it’s not a big deal because we have so many different products and product matrixes and things like that.

But I do remember sitting down with a real estate agent, and I remember telling her this. Debbie, we have this amazing new jumbo ARM product. I think your clients are going to love it. She looked at me and she said, I don’t ever, ever sell a home in that price range. I mean, I don’t think any of my buyers are going to need a jumbo ARM product. And that’s about how fast I realized. Oops, I wish I hadn’t said that. I wish that I had kept that back.

What ends up happening today is that most sales professionals, lenders, brokers, real estate, listing, sales, doesn’t matter. Most people talk too much. And when they talk too much, they literally lose the potential of that converting to a sale and then a long term relationship.

So the idea of questions is not a new idea, but the idea of going deep with questions should hopefully change the way that you think about this idea.

So I want to ask you just three questions, and then I’m going to give you three ideas.

Asking The Right Questions to Stay on Track

Question number one, do you ever feel like a sales conversation is getting lost? And what I mean by that is, do you ever feel that you are losing track of where you are in the process. And no matter what your answer is, the add on question is, could that be better? And what I think is really critical about this question is that you will answer how good you are at asking the right questions.

Paying Attention to Body Language

The second thing, are you observing positive buying language, positive body language? When you’re asking the right questions, you should be able to see the emotion emote from a prospect that you’re working with. Again, whether they’re a seller, a buyer, an agent, a consumer. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter. But that should be what you see. You should start to see positive body language. Smiles, yes, nods, tears, leaning forward, leaning back. Those are the things that are emotional signals to you that you’re on the right track.

Actively Listening to Provide a Solution

And then the third is, are you really listening, actively listening for the solution that the consumer needs from you? So we believe that you need to listen with the intent to not solve, not the intent to sell. And I think that everybody that’s watching this, again whatever business you’re in, but I speak to the lenders. I speak to the brokers. I speak to the real estate agents, whatever business you’re in. Okay? That last piece is absolutely huge because if you don’t know those, then you’re not going to have the depth of conversation.

A person will look you in the eye with the right question and say, if you do this, then I will do that. Right?

Seeing a Good Sales Question In Action 

So a quick story, as I was talking with a lender the other day, and I had him on a 30 day coaching program around asking better questions. And so we were on a webinar and I said, I’d like anybody to volunteer on how you, in the last 30 days, designed a new question to use in a borrower or a seller conversation. So this guy, Tim, raises his hand in chat, and he said, I’m going to share something with you that blew my mind. And I said, I can’t wait. And he goes, so a husband and wife were moving from Anchorage, Alaska down to Portland, Oregon. And I was really thinking about what I can do for this couple for whom this will be the first home that they’ve ever bought.

And so I formulated a question and here was the question I asked this couple. The question was, “What would it mean to you to own a home?” And within about 20 seconds, both the husband and wife were crying. And as Tim deepened the listening of the conversation through the emotion, this would be, and they would be, the buyer and co-buyer, the husband and wife, they would be the first family in the lineage of the entire family, centuries to actually own a home. And for them, it was that emotional. And what Tim began to explain was that was the only question I needed to ask, because everything then became, how do I help them? How do I help them win? How do I help them become the first couple in the family’s history to actually own a home? You can imagine how compelling that is.

Have an Intent to Solve, Not Sell

So you’ve got to do this in a way where you’re listening with the intent to solve, not sell.

So those are the questions. How can I help you? Okay? What would it mean to you? As you think about buying your first home, what does that look like? As you think about selling your home, what’s important to you in the next 30 to 60 days? And then what’s important to you long term, in your real estate strategy?

It’s all about questions, right? And I want the questions to connect at the heart.

I was just on a webinar an hour ago with 100 real estate agents in a room and a lender that had asked me to speak briefly on this. And it was amazing to see how the response was around this idea of what we need to do as a team.

How to Use Questions Influentially 

So three solutions right now on how to use questions influentially.


Number one, take the spotlight off of you. Take the spotlight off your products and services. Take any pride and confidence out of the conversation. And connect. Twenty years ago, a movie was called Glengarry Glen Ross, and it featured Alec Baldwin as a motivational speaker. And he was teaching the sales team of four guys how to Always Be Closing. That was the ABC of selling then.

Today, the ABC of selling is Always Be Connecting. Okay? And so the first solution, the first step you need to take is how do I ask one question that allows me that connection immediately? So, that’s number one.

2. Master the Art of Listening

Number two is really discipline yourself in the art of listening. Listening is so critical and if you don’t listen, then you are going to lose the bind signals. You’re not going to be aware of what to actually offer.

And so if you understand the first step, connection, you understand the second step, become a master listener. Okay?

3. Connect Your Solution to Their Wants and Needs

Then the third step is to give them a solution to the most important thing they told you they have wanted. You can do it more. I mean, if I know two or three things, I can solve two or three things, but most people make a buying decision on one thing. And it happens to be the most important thing they’re looking for.

Talk Less, Sell More

So here’s what I know. Instead of using 100 words to do a sales pitch, take it all the way down to 20 words to ask a question. If you go from 100 words to pitch and promote, and you go down to 20 words to ask and connect, your conversion rate will go from 17% to as high as 77%.

Remember that real estate webinar I just told you about, 100 realtors and a lender? She adopted this thinking and her conversion rate in 90 days went from 28% to 47%. Questions understood, the right ones asked with key listing can double your conversion rate. That’s the amount of yeses you get for the same amount of effort or even less. Okay?

Implement. This is a big deal and if you ask the right kind of questions and you connect, you have no competition.

High Trust Interview Guide

Do you want more guidance on which questions to ask to achieve a deeper connection? 

This step-by-step process, also known as the The High Trust Interview, will guide you through which trust building questions to ask in order to build loyal, long lasting referrals and happy relationships. 

Download it for free here. 


Register Now for Todd Duncan’s

High Trust Sales Academy

Nov 28 – Dec 1, 2023
Todd Duncan speaking at a High Trust Sales Academy event

Free Consultation


*By submitting the form above, you consent to our Terms & Conditions.