Asking The Right Sales Questions

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closed vs open sales questions

For a salesperson engaging with clients has always been, and always will be one of the most important parts of your role. We all know asking questions is part of the sales process and overall success, but are you asking the right ones?

Great sales questions are a vital part of your sales toolkit, as they help you discover new things about your client and how, in turn your product or service can be of benefit to them. After all, that’s what it’s all about – solving their pain points, otherwise why are they going to buy from you?

Great sales questions can set you apart from other sales people as they help you identify your clients short and long term needs- and the benefits don’t just stop there, the customer also learns from the experience! With your help, they begin to look at their situation and perhaps question themselves and why they took previous actions and where they want to be in the future.

Whether you’re just starting or need a refresher, we have Sales Training Courses that can help you improve your sales questioning skills to get what you and your client need out of meetings.

Before a meeting, you’ll want to prepare a list of questions for key areas you want to highlight. Consider areas such as:

  • Current situation in the marketplace
  • Their company
  • Their products and services
  • Their clients
  • Their short and long terms goals / strategy
  • Any concerns / issues they are having
  • Budget
  • Timescales

In order to get the most out your clients, you’ll want to funnel down to key questions to get the most out of your given time. Funneling is starting broad and then focusing on one issue and narrowing down.

asking the right sales questions

It’s also important to use a variety of question types / styles, such as:

Open Questions Worded so the client can’t answer with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and also prompts them to explain in more detail. Used at the start of the conversation or funnel they are very useful to allow you to get a real feel for what your client is thinking and you’re able to gather a lot of information from them.

Open questions tend to start with: What / Who / Where / Why / How / Which

  • What are you plans for the next 6 months?
  • How are you hoping to meet those targets?
  • Tell me is also a great start to a question, although not strictly open (as they could say no!), they never do. Tell me all about your…. And they do in detail.

Follow Up  / Probing Questions Are used to back up an open-ended question, as without following up, you can miss out on a lot of extra information. Sure, you now know what the client is doing is certain areas but, with a cleverly worded follow up, you and the client can both figure out why they do it and what might be wrong/right. They also let them know you’re interested, listening and actively engaged.

  • What exactly are you going to do once you have achieved that?
  • If you reach 100,000 what will happen then?

Closed Questions – Are essential and used at the right time – extremely valuable. These types of questions require the client to answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Generally used to confirm / clarify a point:

  • When you said that, did you mean….?
  • Is your maximum budget £10,000?

And they are, of course, used to close a sale:

  • Are you happy to go ahead?

At Sales Training International, we know the value of great sales questions, used at the right time. This is why all of our sales training courses cover a wide range of questioning styles and explain fully when and how to use them.

closed vs open sales questions
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