Sales is about more than making money or increasing market share. Fundamentally, it is about meeting the needs of the customer in a way that benefits both sides. Good sales questions define the difference between mediocre and record-breaking results.
Most salespeople are able to pique interest, but may experience challenges when qualifying the customer or closing the sale. Once the other party expresses interest, the types of questions posed will make the difference between closing the deal and walking away empty-handed.
Sales Qualifying Questions
Sales qualifying questions are those that explore whether the customer has the authority, interest, capital, and need to buy. Use sales qualifying questions early in the process to determine if the customer is in a position to buy. Qualifying questions help prevent prevents salespeople from investing too much time in a sale that will never happen, and it helps to build contacts that may turn into future sales.
Some of the most powerful sales questions to ask are qualifying ones. They should never come across as scrutiny. Instead, sales-qualifying questions must always come from a desire to provide service and meet needs. Qualifying is an excellent time to use open-ended sales questions. Try variations of these to see if the customer is qualified to buy.
- Who else will be involved in deciding if this is the right fit for your company?
- How would your company use [product or service]? What would it do for you?
- Is there room in the budget for this type of investment? Are funds available?
- When do you think you would be ready to integrate this [product or service] into your business?
- What types of options are you considering from our competitors?
Though everybody will answer differently, these open-ended sales questions help determine whether the customer is qualified to move forward and worth the time required to close. If the customer reveals others are involved in the decision, it is usually worth the salesperson’s time to contact the other decision-makers. If the customer reveals that money, need, or interest are not there, part on favorable terms, save the contact and follow up from time to time.
Sales Closing Questions
Once qualification and interest have been determined, it’s time to close the sale.. Closing is part persuasion, part accountability, and part charm. It is the time in the sales process when final questions are answered, and the salesperson requests commitment from the customer.
Good sales questions cause the customer to think reflect on why they need the product and lead the customer to feel as though they might miss out if they do not take action. Try variations of these effective sales-closing questions to compel the customer to buy:
- What else would you like to know about this [product or service]?
- What benefits do you see to using this [product or service]?
- Have I earned myself a new client? (If rapport is good, a little humor can go a long way.)
- Which of these options is best for you?
- What do you think about taking advantage of this exceptional offer?
- What do we have to do to earn your business?
Sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge to get the customer to jump into action, which is why sales closing questions are a crucial tool for any salesperson. The most powerful are open ended sales questions that help the customer to formulate his or her own answer, rather than a simple yes or no. If the options are yes or no, the customer will choose no more often than yes.
Delivery is everything, which is why some salespersons make it where others fail. A professional knows good sales questions do not come off as pushy, needy, assuming, or demanding. In fact, the most powerful are those that “lead the horse to water.” Open ended sales questions lead a customer to form the conclusion that they in fact need the product or service. They should be used throughout the entire sales process.