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13/12/2013: welcome to fabtastic friday - "tap and filter questions"

If you want to get the right answer, first you must ask the right question.

I see open questions as filters and closed questions as taps to take a plumbing analogy. Working out which question to ask to which potential customer is the real art of getting to the order as efficiently as possible.

Anyone who has been exposed to any amount of sales training has probably heard coaches banging on endlessly about the value of open questions versus closed questions. The Rudyard Kipling rhyme "I have six honest serving men, they taught me all I know, their names are What and Why and When and Where and How and Who" will be indelibly impressed through over-use.

That has a value, open questions are great for eliciting information. However, at some point in the sales process, a decision must be made, which by its nature demands a closed question. It is never too early to ask for the order, then based on the answer, you can either get the signature, or open another line of open questions to get at the reasons behind a negative response.

How does this relate to the web? In the information content of your site, a series of closed questions can guide visitors to choose the most appropriate links to the sections of the content that are most relevant to them. Questions like "Have you ever wanted to writs a book?", "Are your energy bills too high?" or "Do you have relatives abroad?", linked to pages within the site can steer people quickly to the right place.

It is when designing the response form for the site that open questions come into their own. Questions like "What is your budget?", "When is your wedding?" or "How many rooms in your house?" all help to provide you with the information you need to prepare an accurate proposal. All Webinthebox« sites from the Village Websmith come with copy writing support to help you get the message across and a fully customisable enquiry form to make sure you get the right answers by asking the right questions. To find out more, call us on 0203 239 0350 or click in the header of any page to send us an email.

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