Customer Experience News & Trends

Questions that close the most sales

Before a customer’s problem can be solved, the salesperson has to understand the customer’s needs. To get the information necessary to understand those needs, the salesperson has to ask the right questions under the correct circumstances.

What to ask and when

So, the question is: Which type of question to ask and when? The answer depends on the situation.

Here are the best questions to ask and the circumstances under which they are most effective:

1. Questions to help you gain information about the prospect’s goals, wants, needs and decision process

  • Tell me about your market place?
  • What trends do you see in your market?
  • Who are your customers?
  • What do your customers look for when they come to you?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What advantages do you have over them?
  • What advantages do they have over you?
  • What are you looking for in a supplier?
  • What kind of technical support do you need on this project?
  • What delivery and availability does your project require?
  • Who is your current supplier?
  • How well does this supplier meet your needs?

2. Questions that help you call attention to value-added extras

  • How do you define value?
  • How much flexibility do you need from a supplier?
  • What can we do to make it easier for you to purchase from us?
  • What quality issues concern you the most?
  • What special ordering needs do you have?

3. Projective questions that highlight the prospect’s needs and how they’re being met

  • If you could change anything about your current supplier, what would you change?
  • What would be your idea of the ideal product?
  • What would you like to have that your present supplier isn’t furnishing?
  • What service would you like to have that you’re not currently receiving?

4. Questions that call attention to long-term issues

  • How long do you plan to own or use this product?
  • Where would you like to go in the future with this?
  • What are your long-term goals for this project?
  • What post-sale, long-term requirements do you have?
  • Where do you see our company headed in the future?

5. Opportunistic questions that call attention to a competitor’s weakness without criticizing the competition

  • How’s the quality of what you’re using now?
  • What do you like or dislike about what you’re currently using?
  • Will the product you’re currently using get you where you want to be in the future?
  • What experiences have you had with this particular product or service?

6. Questions that draw out a prospect’s reluctance to make a buying decision:

  • What concerns you most about making this purchase?
  • What do you want to avoid in moving forward?
  • What would hinder you from moving forward?
  • Do you see any reason why you wouldn’t go forward and purchase my solution?
  • What do you dislike doing that we can do for you?
  • What would make you feel good about buying my product?

Adapted from: “Power Questions,” by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas. Sobel is a leading authority on client relationships. Panas is CEO of the largest consulting firm in the world for advising nonprofit organizations on fundraising.

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