The more you ask questions, the more successful the interaction is likely to be. Some types of questions are more powerful than others.
It has been standard practice in selling to distinguish between two of questions, closed and open.
Closed-ended questions will be answered with a single word, a “yes” or a “no.”
They are used to bring a conversation to a single point or decision. These questions begin with verbs, such as “are, is, will, did, have, haven’t, didn’t or won’t?” Examples of these questions in the long-term care insurance opening interview are:
- Have you known anyone who has needed long-term care?
- Have you thought about living for an extended period, perhaps into your 80’s or 90’s?
- Can you see the possibility that you may need extended health care as you age?
- Is there anyone near-by to assist with your care?
- Will you be expecting the government to pay for your long-term care?
- If you needed long-term care, are you able to pay for your care?
- Do you generally insure risks such as your home, automobile and health?
- Wouldn’t you prefer to avoid being a financial, physical or emotional burden for your family?
Open-ended questions require a longer answer and can not be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” The client must elaborate on their answer when you ask an open-ended question.
Open-ended questions begin with the words “what, where, when, how, who and why?” Examples of these questions are:
- Who do you know that has needed long-term care?
- What caused them to need care?
- Where did they receive services?
- How long did they need care?
- When do you think they could have anticipated needing care?
- How did they pay for the costs of their care?
- Why would you wait to take action given what you have seen with others?
This isn’t a new concept. E. K. Strong was writing about selling with open and closed questions in 1925, and there’s some evidence that the distinction goes back well before then.
Most writers during the last 60 years have adopted the distinction between open and closed questions and have generally made the following points about them:
Closed questions are less powerful, although they are useful with certain customer types, such as the garrulous buyer who can’t stop talking.
Open questions are more powerful than closed questions because they get the customer talking and often reveal unexpected information.
Master the art of questioning and start selling more LTC Insurance!
I keep six honest serving men.
They taught me all I knew.
They were WHAT and WHY and WHEN
and HOW and WHERE and WHO
Rudyard Kipling, 1902