40 Best Questions to Ask that Can Help You Win the Customer
Good sales come from asking good questions. In this blog post, we have prepared for you a list of the best questions for sales, as well as tips and hints that will help you boost the number of deals during sales conversations.
8 min read
Jun 08, 2021
Understanding your client will strongly influence the success of your sales pitch. Asking the right questions will provide crucial information that will help you to better understand your customer.
Proper questions can help you to get this understanding as prospect’s answers provide crucial information for you. Good questions can unveil insights about your customer’s needs and goals, helping to find the best solution for them, establishing trustful relations with potential customers, and as a result, leading to a successful deal.
The main aim of a sales conversation is to make the customer talk. To do this, you need to ask a number of open-ended questions; these are questions that cannot be answered simply with a “yes” or “no”. Open-ended questions are designed to gather detailed answers and encourage prospective clients to share their thoughts and feelings. Open-ended questions will mostly begin with “What”, “How”, and “Why”.
Here is an example of the difference between open and closed questions:
“Is there something we can discuss?” (Closed-ended question)
“What topics should we focus on today?” (Open-ended question)
In the first case, potential customers will often limit themselves to a “yes” or “no” answer, and this will not move the conversation further. Whereas the more detailed response to the second question will help you lead the conversation in the right direction.
A comprehensive sales process will use both open and closed-ended questions, as closed-ended questions are useful for getting quick and meaningful answers, for example:
- Which vendor do you currently work with?
- Is it possible to move the appointment to tomorrow?
- Are you ready to move further in this direction?
While closed-ended questions are used throughout the sales process, today, we are going to focus on open-ended sales queries, as when done right, they can bring significant benefits in the context of sales. Open-ended questions can demonstrate to potential clients your interest in their business, making them feel more engaged while gathering more insights that ultimately will help you close the sale.
Tips for Asking Open-Ended Sales Questions
Encourage Potential Customers to Talk More and Do Not Interrupt Their Answers
It is important to collect as much information as possible in a short period of time, so ask additional questions that provoke detailed answers. After you have finished the conversation, you will be able to analyze their answers and identify key insights, so do not interrupt or assess the answers mid-conversation; focus on listening carefully and taking detailed notes. A great way to break the ice is to use jokes; this can help the prospective customer to relax, open up and provide you with more personal details.
Best practice, when it comes to asking open-ended questions, is to start with broader questions and move to more specific questions as the client gets more comfortable, for example:
- What issues do you hope to solve this year? - A broad question that encourages potential clients to talk about their challenges.
- What did you do to solve this issue last year? - Transition from broad to a specific concern.
- What results did you get from that decision? - The question becomes even more specific and shifts the focus to the solution. This allows you to insert your product or service into the conversation.
Show Sincere Interest and Don’t Interrogate
Usually, the best sales reps are also excellent listeners; they are curious about other people, have great communication skills, and almost never interrogate. When a potential customer feels like you are genuinely interested in their concerns, they will feel more engaged and be more enthusiastic about sharing their issues with you. However, it is important to be genuine as fake curiosity has the opposite effect.
One of the most important things you can do is to practice active listening. Active listening is paraphrasing the clients’ answers after they have responded, so you make sure that you understand their thought correctly, for example:
- So, you think that…?
- Are you saying that…?
- Do you mean that…?
By practicing active listening, the potential client will feel that you are engaged and listening to them.
Keep Strategic Silence While Listening to the Client
Sometimes a hanging pause provokes potential clients to tell you more. Use your intuition to let them think and give you more information. Knowing how to identify the moment when it is best to stay quiet comes with experience, but once you have mastered it, it can work wonders. If you don’t listen to your client’s answers, there is no point in asking open questions.
Do Not Rush Potential Clients with Answers
Regardless of how much your deadlines may burn, do not reduce the time you have to communicate with prospective clients; if you rush, you’re depriving yourself of valuable information. The biggest mistake is to jump from one question to another without giving the customers enough time to answer the questions or tell you everything they want.
40 Examples of Best Sales Questions
We have prepared a collection of open-ended question examples that you can use during your next call. A best practice is to use 2-3 questions from each category, choosing those that are most in line with your conversation goals.
Questions to Build Trust
These queries are great to make the customer talk:
- How is your business?
- What has changed since our last conversation?
- What are your plans for the coming months?
- How was your vacation?
Questions About the History of Past Deals
Ask these questions if you want to know the shopping history and habits of a potential customer:
- What did you like about using similar products before?
- Why did you decide to purchase the same product/service?
- What difficulties did you encounter when buying?
- What did you buy from our company before and why?
- What were your impressions of this purchase?
Questions to Identify Desires and Goals
- Ask these questions to find out key target information for prospects:
- What results do you want to achieve?
- What are the most important projects you are currently working on?
- Why do you think that now is the right time to try a new service?
- What are your top priorities?
- What is your expected time frame for implementing this solution?
Finding Their Issues and Obstacles
- These questions are good to find clients’ pain points:
- What prevents you from achieving your goals?
- What are you mostly concerned about?
- What has been working well with your current processes? What has not?
- What measures were taken when you had similar problems?
- What can help you go forward with the project?
Asking these questions is a great way to nudge the conversation forward and to make sure you’re not missing anything important:
- Could you tell me more about your objectives?
- Can you please clarify why do you think this is an issue?
- Can you give me an example of this?
- How does that work?
- Can you help me understand that a little better?
Questions on Possible Outcomes
These questions help to define the potential effect of your product:
- What do you think will change in your business if we cooperate?
- How do you think management will react if you solve this issue?
- How will the decision affect you personally and your team?
Questions for Dealing with Objections
These help you to unveil objections of your prospects:
- Exactly what do you mean by that?
- Why do you feel that way?
- If we resolve this, can we then move forward?
- What other questions should we discuss before moving on?
- Who else (the seller) do you compare us with?
- What could affect the success of this deal?
It is necessary to carefully select proper questions and phrases for the end of any sales conversation. This is to encourage the potential buyer to make a decision, ideally one that is beneficial for you. To do it gracefully and unobtrusively manner, these are the most helpful and valuable questions:
- When can I call you back?
- What is your company’s decision-making process?
- What do we need to consider for successful cooperation?
- What is your purchase decision deadline?
- What services or support do you think will help you succeed?
- What questions do you have that I haven’t answered yet?
- What else can I do to help you finalize this decision?
It is important to remember that every question you ask should be personalized to the potential clients’ or company’s individual needs, along with the current stage of the sales process and the conversation context.
Ultimately, the success of your sales process will depend on how well you know your prospects. By asking the right questions at the right time, you will learn more about their challenges, which will help you find better solutions. Good questions can help you to establish mutual understanding with potential clients, increase trust and reduce objections. Start using some of the above questions in the sales process, evaluate your client’s reaction and adjust your approach accordingly.
Enjoy your sales conversations and close as many deals as possible!