Open-Ended, Tie-Down, Porcupine

    What do all three of these have in common you may be asking? These are all types of questions identified in Tom Hopkins book, HOW TO Master the Art of SELLING. This is one of the best sales books I read over 13 years ago, and I still use a lot of what I read today. He identifies many more types of questions in the book, but I thought I’d explain these three and if you like them, you can read the rest for yourself.

Let’s start with the “open-ended”, this is the most common. It’s a type of question that can’t be answer with a yes or no response. It’s meant to elicit conversation and get the client to open up. Let me give you an example. A close ended question would go like this, “Mr. or Mrs. Prospect do you like your auto insurance?” There response short and sweet can be yes or no. A small tweak to make it an “open-ended” question would go like this, “Mr. or Mrs. Prospect what do you like or dislike about your auto insurance?” The answer is going to reveal a lot more about their feelings and how you should approach them next.

Let’s try the next type, “tie-down”. A “tie-down” question is one that’s worded so the prospect feels they are in control of the situation but either answer is perfectly fine to you. An example always helps. “Mr. or Mrs. Prospect do Thursday’s or Friday’s work better for you?” They are in control but, really weather they pick Thursday or Friday your fine with either.

Last one, my favorite name, the “porcupine”. It’s where a client asks you a question and you are unsure of the answer or how to respond; so, you throw the question right back at them. Imagine if someone threw you a porcupine, what would you do? Probably throw it right back, right? Again, an example, Mr. or Mrs. Prospect asks you why they need life insurance. You are at a loss for how to respond so you try the porcupine question. “Well Mr. or Mrs. Prospect, why don’t you need life insurance?” You took their question and threw it right back in hopes to get more information and formulate the appropriate response.

I hope these made sense and again if you enjoy these buy the book, it’s great. If you enjoy this blog so far please hit the subscribe button below and I’ll keep delivering what I hope is some good material.

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