In sales you want to make sure you are getting as much information out of your client as possible to ensure you are providing them with the best solutions for their problems. But getting these answers can be tricky if you don’t know what to ask. Typically, in sales a question can either be open-ended or closed-ended. It is your job to determine which one is the best to ask in order to get the most out of your sales meetings with clients.
Open Ended Questions
An open-ended sales question is usually a probing question used to get a prospect to talk more about their business, their problems, and their wants. These questions don’t necessarily have specific answers, but you’ll use them to start a conversation about the prospect. Here is a trick you can use to identify open-ended questions: they usually start with a word like what, why, or how.
- What do you think will be your biggest challenge this year?”
- What’s going on in your business these days?
- What kind of budget do you have for this project?
- What does your current process look like?
- What are you thinking about for next steps?
Open-ended questions are designed to help you understand your prospects business better and launch more meaningful conversations. Remember, getting your prospect or client to talk is a win-win. It not only helps you better understand your prospect but will increase the likelihood that the prospect looks back on the conversation in a positive light. After all, everyone loves to talk about themselves! Let your client do that in these meetings.
Closed Ended Questions
A closed-ended question gets you right to the point of what you want to know about your prospect. Asking these types of questions will give you clear answers to what you need to know. These questions typically begin with verbs as you are positioning your prospects to provide you with a direct response. While most have yes, or no answers, some closed ended questions can provide you with options.
- Do you like this (new/different) feature that our product provides?
- Does this make sense?
- Can we schedule a follow up call next week?
- Does this make sense to you so far?
- Would you like to get started on this right away?
Asking direct questions will give you a clear response, so you don’t have to guess what they want but rather work on their needs. When you ask close-ended questions in sales it will help you piece the overall vision together that will allow you to make sure you have all the information in hand to make your client happy with your service.
Things to keep in mind when asking questions:
- Don’t answer them for your client! No one likes being told what they think.
- Let your client give you the answer even if you already know it. This will show them that you care to hear what they say.
- Don’t make it seems like you are interrogating them! This is supposed to be a relaxed and productive conversation not an inquisition.
- Don’t go into your solution during that meeting. Listen to what they have to say, take notes and then come back to them with your solution. This will show that you took the time to evaluate what they had to say and developed a plan that is specific to them.
Finally, make sure you are prepared prior to meeting with your client by doing your research. The questions you ask need to be those that go above and beyond what is available on their website. The time you spend with your client is meant to be productive and informative, and clients want to know you are taking the time to do your homework. By doing this, you will come up with intelligent, thoughtful questions that will enhance not only the meeting with your client but your overall relationship with them!
Need more tips on asking great sales questions? Watch our course Great Sales Questions and Selling to Different Customer Roles.
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