Seth Godin teaches a great way of keeping the conversations open and engaging even in hard times or when we are losing deals. Seth gives an example of how you could change the way you ask open ended questions that leaves conversations open with an example of sales guy in a retail shop:
A guy walks into a shop that sells ties. He’s opened the conversation by walking in. Salesman says, “can I help you?” The conversation is now closed. The prospect can politely say, “no thanks, just looking.”
Consider the alternative: “That’s a nice/ beautiful/ elegant/ great/ awesome tie you’re wearing, sir. Where did you get it?”. Conversation is now open. Attention has been paid, a rapport can be built. They can talk about ties. And good taste.
In a negative scenario, where the customer politely complains that “it must be hard to get a great on Mondays”, if the cook responds “I’m sorry”, the conversations in over. The customer is never coming back. The customer feels bad about the meal, and tells others not to go there.
Consider this approach where the cook asks open eneded questions such as “what kind of fish was it?” or “what style did you get?” and engages the customer for a talk, the cook takes customer inside the kitchen and shows how he cooks, and how he would have liked? Do you think the customer will come back?
Seth says that “open conversations generate loyalty, sales and most of all, learning… for both sides.”