Asking Quality Questions

We all know asking questions is an important part of the sales process. Open ended, closed ended, probing questions, qualifying questions, check-in questions… the list goes on and on. Here are a few question ideas that have worked for me both in the sales process but also in generating a better relationship with my prospects to set myself apart from the rest of the people calling them each day.


1. Would it be helpful if…

Insert your objective on the call. This question lead-in was introduced to me on a client account and I have leveraged it across all my teams. Think of the power of this simple statement when trying to get someone’s time and attention. Of course it would be helpful if you reviewed some upcoming market events they care about. Now they want to talk to you.

2. When was the last time someone took the time to…

Insert your discovery process here. It’s the same point as question one, but deeper into your selling cycle. It’s likely that none of your competitors have taken the time to review their account or look at some of their internal processes where you may have a better, cheaper or faster way of accomplishing a task. Make it specific to your product or service, and this question gets you designed in as a solution.

3. That would benefit your company, wouldn’t it?

This tie-down question is so often missed or lost in the conversation. We teach a process of selling features by making them a benefit and then locking it in. This is a perfect lock-in question to, again, find out where your prospect has concerns or if you are on the right track. Checking back on each follow-up call will also reinforce if anything has changed with regard to each initiative.

4. Is there anyone else in the process I should include on the invite?

I often get asked how to find out if you are talking to the right person or if you can ask someone if there is another decision maker—tough questions to ask without insulting them or making them feel unimportant. Instead, use a demo or follow-up call as a means to an end. Make sure you invite anyone YOUR contact thinks is important. If they don’t want to blindside their boss, they will want him or her there as well.

5. On your list of to-do items, is this in the top 5 priorities?

This one should be reserved for later in the sales process, after a real value is developed and you are working toward a close. Timing is key in any sale, and if you are not a priority to them, don’t give up and walk away. You now know where you stack rank, so if you are not a top concern, you keep selling and get yourself to the top. If you are, keep moving and checking in to get the deal done.

There are plenty of other questions that you can ask specific to your product or sales cycle, but I know from my selling activity these have gone a long way in better qualifying, opening the door to being a consultative sales person and getting to the “no” faster.

That said, there is one I didn’t include on this list that I tell all my sales training classes is the one undeniable question that will win you more business: Ask for the ORDER! No matter how or what the phrase is, just make sure you ask for the business. The worst thing that will happen is you get a “no,” and then your real selling begins—but at least you know where you stand.[/fusion_text][/fullwidth]