June 2, 2021

Stop Asking "Does That Make Sense?" {7 Expert Alternatives}

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Does that make sense?

If you’re giving a sales demo, the last thing you want is to confuse your prospects.

You won’t make the sale if they don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

So, naturally, you start asking questions:

“Am I being clear?”

“Does this make sense?”

“Are you listening?”

Luckily, they always say yes....thank goodness.

With confidence restored, you are free to ramble on for another half hour about why all your competitors can go to hell. They just don’t understand customers like you do.

Think again...

Why asking "Does that make sense?" kills trust

Sadly, just because someone says they understand doesn’t mean they’re telling the truth.

According to Harvard, the phrase "Does that make sense" makes you seem uncertain, and actually insults the audience — your prospects.

It’s also a filler-phrase, similar to saying “I mean” or “you know.”

As a result, when you ask, "Does that make sense," you’re saying nothing at all while making it worse at the same time.

Of course, it can be hard to know what you should say.

So, we did the work for you.

Enjoy these 7 alternatives to ask instead of "Does that make sense?":

7 Expert Alternative Questions

1. What are your thoughts?

Does that make sense keeps the focus on you.

Enjoy that head nod in return, but don’t expect much else.

Asking, “What are your thoughts?,” on the other hand, will get you a real answer.

It will also cause your audience to take a step back and make sure they understood the incredible wisdom you shared.

If they don’t understand, they now have real permission to ask clarifying questions.

2. How does that sound to you?

This question is nice because it rolls off the tongue.

It simply has great vibes.

Perhaps more importantly, it accomplishes exactly what you're looking for.

The answer to, “How does that sound to you?” isn’t condescending, it gives you context into their thinking.

Pro-tip: be careful not to use this question as a filler phrase.

After a certain amount of repetition, it starts to seem like you don’t actually care about "how it sounds" to them (which you should).

3. What questions do you have about this?

If you’re talking about anything complex, your audience should have questions.

Don't pretend they have nothing to ask you.

Don't ask if they have any questions either (another filler phrase).

Instead, assume they do have questions and give them an explicit opportunity to ask whatever's on their mind.

Sales demos can feel like lectures if you aren't careful.

In these situations, the power dynamic can make the listener become passive, which can lead to disengagement.

If that happens, saying “Do you have any questions?” will lead to an automatic no.

In sales, you don’t want lectures, and you don’t want passive listening. You definitely don’t want an automatic no.

The solution is to help your audience understand that questions are, in fact, crucial to the success of the meeting.

Asking, “What questions do you have about this” is a great way to re-route them toward active engagement.

4. What do you think so far?

You shouldn't use this question often, but it's not off-limits.

It's kind of similar to 'Does that make sense.'

Honestly though, if you overuse any question on this list, you run the risk of creating a new filler phrase.

"What do you think so far" is better because it's an open-ended question. It's rarely overused, and it won't insult your listeners.

As long as you use this infrequently and genuinely, it can be a great way to snag some insights into a prospect's thought process.

5. What additional information would be helpful to you?

This question forces them to think of a real answer. It's difficult to fake this response and you can tell if they do.

It can be hard to dive deep into a prospect's desires, but it doesn't have to be.

Assuming there is additional information on the table gives the prospect that extra push to pinpoint their pain/needs...which is huge for you.

6. Is this the kind of capability you had in mind?

Though this is a closed yes or no question, the word “capability” is specific enough that your prospect will look internally at the situation:

“Is this something that solves my problems?”

“Is this product capable to meet my needs?”

“What would I need for this to be the right solution?”

Also, this question naturally answers your other question (does that make sense?).

If a prospect is trying to think about specific capabilities, but doesn't understand the situation, they will use this time to ask for clarity.

Give them that clarity, and they'll become more likely to buy your product/service.

7. How do you think this could help?

This one is like the open-ended, big picture version of question 6.

It asks for a high-level look at the relevancy of your product or service.

If they love what you're selling, they'll tell you about it here.

The response could be, "I don't see a fit at this time."

This might be an objection that you can overcome, or it might be time to go home (or end the Zoom meeting).

No need to initiate another discussion about your product specs to change their mind.

Just keep in touch and deliver value until they are ready to talk again.

Empathize with their opinion, and try to understand why they don't see the value. It could be bad timing. Maybe you've been boring.

No matter what, take the time to create as much value as possible by asking these 7 questions instead of 'Does that make sense.'

By doing so, you will encourage prospects to think critically about what you're offering, and you'll find it easier to build impactful relationships.

Does that make sense??

You'll like these emails 🥒

Pickle writes to their friends every few weeks with spicy tips to make their wall-to-wall meetings suck less.
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