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Open-ended sales questions that your reps can use to get the prospects talking

8 minutes read

Open-ended sales questions are essential to succeed in sales. Why? Because they allow reps to,

  • Get inside the heads of their prospects
  • Uncover their pain points/needs
  • Understand what’s important for them
  • Build rapport with them, while uncovering their pain points
  • Clearly articulating the value of an offering
  • And help them create better futures for themselves

Also by using some great open-ended sales questions your sales reps will be able to disrupt the buyers’ thinking and change their perceptions of what’s true and what’s possible. This, in turn, helps in driving the sale forward and avoiding pitfalls that can derail the sale along the way.

So, here we share some powerful sales questions that’ll put your reps on the path to building rapport navigating buyer wants, needs, and desires, and ushering sales to the close.


Initial questions to build rapport

These questions come in handy for your reps during their initial conversation with a customer to connect with them and build rapport. These rapport-building questions help them to

Without this level of intimacy, you can’t consult the account.

Examples:

  • How have things in your business changed given [insert an industry event]?
  • What’s going on in your business these days?
  • Is it true what they say about living in [city/state]? (For example, 'Is it true what they say about living in L.A.? Are the freeways essentially parking lots?')
  • Since you live in [city/state], do you go to [local attraction] all the time?
  • I have such good memories of [city/state] — I visited when I was X years old and absolutely loved [destination/feature]. What do you think about [destination/feature]?
  • If I had the opportunity to pass through [city/state], what would be your top recommendations?
  • Saw on Twitter that you're a massive [sport] fan. Are you looking forward to [related event]?
  • May I ask you some questions about your business?
  • Could you tell me about your business?
  • You specialize in X. Why did you choose that niche?
  • I noticed that you just downloaded our ebook entitled “Trends Driving Next Generation Contract Management.” Tell me, what was your purpose of downloading that digital asset?


Discovery of needs and pain points

These questions help your reps to uncover the pain points/ challenges/ needs of the prospects. While posing these need-based or pain-based questions ask your reps to be cognizant of the pains your offering solves. In other words, ask them to not ask about areas that your product or service doesn’t address.

Examples:

  • What is the biggest challenge you face with your business today?
  • What’s the most important priority to you in this? And why is that?
  • What would you like to see improved?
  • What is preventing you from reaching your objectives?
  • How is this issue affecting your business?
  • Why isn’t your particular solution and/or process working for you?


Qualifying Questions

Following are the qualifying questions which your reps can use to determine

  • A prospect’s interest level
  • What do they think of your sales approach so far
  • And what your next move should be to close the deal

These questions help them to filter prospects and narrow down their focus to concentrate only on those prospects who have a higher likelihood of getting converted into paying customers

Examples:

  • When do you think you might assess your solutions in [Your Industry/Category]?
  • What do you think about our offer so far?
  • How should we move forward after today?
  • Do you have any questions about our product that I haven’t answered yet?
  • What does your budget look like for this [Project/Product/Service]?
  • What’s changed since the last time we spoke about this?


Uncovering the impact of solving or not solving the problem

In order to know the best way to close a potential prospect, your reps must understand

  • How is the problem at hand affecting the client?
  • What would be the consequences of solving it?
  • What would be the consequences of not solving it?

Below are some Impact or Benefit-driven questions which your reps can use to discover the products/ features the prospects would find most intriguing. Then, they can use the answers to these sales questions to inform their sales approach.

Example:

  • If you could overcome these challenges, what would happen to your company’s financial situation?
  • If you were to make this happen, what would it mean for you personally?
  • How would implementing these changes affect your competitiveness in the market?
  • What won’t happen if you chose not to move forward with this?
  • How do you think your board of directors would evaluate the success of this initiative?
  • If you don’t solve [insert the challenge here], what kind of difficulties will you face going forward?


Buyer History Questions

Buyer-History Questions help your sales reps to understand

  • If the prospect has tried any other vendor’s product before?
  • What was the state of the prospect’s relationship with that vendor?
  • And how has it worked or not worked for them?

This information can have significant implications for your sales process.

Examples:

  • What has your past purchase experience with [Product/Service] been like?
  • When was the last time you evaluated something like this?
  • Why weren’t you satisfied with your previous vendor?
  • How would you describe the level of service you receive from your current provider?
  • What measures have you taken to fix your problems with your current solution?


New Future or New Reality Questions

With these questions, your sales reps can help the prospects visualize what it will feel like to achieve their goals using your company’s products and/or services.

Examples:

  • How do you think changing this area would improve your day-to-day process?
  • What would you like to achieve in the next year by making this change?
  • If time and money were no object and you had full authority to do whatever you wanted, what would you change about your current system?
  • If you were to describe your situation in three years, what would you want to be different from what you have today?
  • If you could go back in time, what would you change about your business?


Objection-based questions

These objection-based questions are designed to help the sales reps to uncover objections before they derail your sales process. Or, at the very least, they give your reps the details they need to disqualify leads and move on.

Examples:

  • The common objection is, “I need to discuss this with my supervisor,” so the question would be: “Who else is involved in making these types of decisions?”
  • The common objection is, “I can’t afford this right now,” so the question would be: “What budget do you have allocated for something like this?”
  • The common objection is, “I’m not interested in your product or service right now,” so the question would be: “When are you interested in learning how I can save you X% with this product/service?”
  • What concerns, if any, do you have so far?
  • What else would you like to talk about?
  • What would stop you from making a change today?


Clarifying Questions

Sales reps can try these open-ended questions if they do not get enough information on a specific topic from the prospects.These questions help the reps to get clarity in their thoughts and direct the sales conversation in a positive direction.

Examples:

  • Can you tell me more about that?
  • What do you mean when you say [X]?
  • Would you be able to give me an example of that?
  • Can you give me more information on [X]
  • How did that affect your team?


Closing Questions

Your reps need to ask the right questions at the right time in order to take a new prospect from new leads to paying customers. Here are a few questions that will help your reps “seal the deal” and earn the commission bonus they’ve been eyeing:

Examples:

  • What’s your timeline for making a purchase?
  • Who else are you comparing us against?
  • If we make a deal, what would it mean for you personally?
  • What else can I do to help you finalize your decision?
  • When can we get started?


Questions to ask after closing

You know the saying, every ending is a new beginning.

A closed deal is really just the beginning of your company’s relationship with a new customer. That’s why it’s important for your reps to ask engaging sales questions after closing to ensure customers are enjoying their experience and want to continue doing business with you.

Examples:

  • What caused you to reach out to us?
  • How can we help you get started with [Product/service]?
  • Now that you’re a customer, what can we do to make sure your experience is perfect?
  • What questions do you have about the onboarding process?

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Published on Mon Jan 10 2022

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