When we allow a sale to occur too quickly, we wind up leaving money on the table. By asking exploratory questions early, you are able to assess which additional products may interest the customer. Building a solid relationship instead of going for the quick close just makes good sense when you are striving to build a long-term sales career.

Because we're in sales we have been proven to be smarter than our customers and, therefore, we're entitled to tell our customers what they want. I find that so offensive for one reason -- it's the customer's money, not ours! The only way you are going to know what a customer will place value in is by asking them and getting them to tell you what they're looking for.

Every comment your customer makes needs to be challenged with a question.You should probe deeper by asking for more information. This is where it's critical to listen carefully because the elaboration will contain the real information for which you are looking.

Top-performing salespeople ask questions that allow the customer to elaborate on their needs and then demonstrate their listening skills by asking appropriate open questions and probing deeper with great follow-up questions. This allows the customer to understand what their true needs are. As a salesperson, you will begin to develop the assurance you need to confidently convey the maximum price point your company expects to receive.

A very simple rule I tell salespeople is for every minute you spend gathering information to share with a customer, you need to spend an equal amount of time developing questions to ask that customer. You need to develop questions to which you don't have answers. More than likely, these will be questions to which your buyer doesn't have answers either. Your role is to be seen as the one salesperson who is genuinely committed to helping them move themselves and their company to a higher level.