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Open Ended Questions: The Key to Conversation and Lead Generation Success

One of the most important steps in executing a successful lead generation campaign is the development of an effective script. Often, there is a tendency to get bogged down with questions that are focused on uncovering specific data points. Too many questions, despite the best intentions, will kill the success of the campaign overall. While it is important to obtain as much specific environmental information as possible, it is equally important to maintain a genuinely conversational tone throughout the interaction. Asking questions that are designed to elicit predictable responses often results in a survey-like situation. The prospect may lose interest and wonder why they are participating in the call.

A great way to eliminate the uninterested prospect is by truly engaging them with open ended questions. After the contact has been presented with a brief explanation of the purpose of the call, one should always ask questions that encourage them to speak as much as possible. Phrases like: “Tell me about,” and “How do you,” are great ways to encourage the contact to share information without conveying any obvious expectation of the specific information you are looking to obtain. Often, they will deliver the information you are hoping to uncover without realizing they are giving you exactly what you need in order to determine if a potential sales opportunity exists.

The answer to that first open ended question will usually provide a wealth of information about which you can ask your prospect to elaborate further. Not only does this allow them to feel in control of the call, it also lets them know that you are genuinely interested in what they are telling you. This perceived curiosity often takes people off the defensive, as they find themselves involved in a totally relaxed, unscripted (yet scripted) conversation. By the time it is over with, your prospect is ready to talk to your sales team because he truly feels that his best interests are, and will be, considered.