As someone in sales management, you know that a salesperson must ask effective, open-ended questions when talking to a customer. It is the only way they can get the customer talking and uncover the information necessary to close the sale.
However, if your salespeople ask the wrong open-ended questions, they may end up wasting time and failing to gain any insight. This can be one of the top reasons why your sales team is not successful.
So what questions can your salespeople ask their customers to improve sales?
Keep reading and you will learn 8 questions your salespeople can ask that will help them build rapport with customers and improve sales. Then, you can teach the questions to your salespeople so they can begin using them during customer conversations.
Open-Ended Questions Your Salespeople Should Ask Potential Customers
What do you dislike about your current vendor?
This question will work especially well for your salespeople if they are trying to convince the customer to switch from their current vendor.
Teach your salespeople to listen closely after asking this question so they can use the information they learn to frame the product/service being sold as a better solution. If they can uncover the customer’s frustration and make her confident that her frustration can be eliminated, it will be much easier to close the sale.
What do you dislike about the product you are currently using?
Similar to the question above, this question will help your salespeople uncover their customer’s current frustrations.
If your salespeople listen effectively, they can use what they learn to help the customer understand why the product/service being sold will be an improvement over what they are currently using.
What concern is stopping you from making this purchase?
Asking this question is a straightforward way for your salespeople to uncover customer objections. If they do so effectively, they can shift the conversation and begin working to overcome those objections and close the sale.
Teach your salespeople to avoid asking this question early in their conversation with the customer.
Instead, they should ask this question when they sense hesitation from the customer or when the customer rejects the product/service being sold.
What are you most excited about for your company in the coming year?
Not only is asking this question a great way for your salespeople to get the customer talking about their priorities – it is an effective way for your salespeople to build rapport with the customer.
That is because the question prompts the customer to open up to the salesperson and explain what they are passionate about at work.
When that happens, the salesperson should listen carefully for anything the customer says that could be accomplished quicker or more effectively with the product/service being sold.
The point here is to teach your salespeople how to position the product/service they are selling as something helpful that will allow customers to reach their business goals more quickly. If your customers see the product/service as essential to reaching their goals, they will be much more open to making a purchase.
Who will make the final decision about this purchase?
This question is important because it lets your salespeople know whether they are speaking with the person who will make the final decision about the purchase.
If a salesperson finds out that they are not talking to the decision-maker, they can end the conversation and avoid wasting time talking to someone who is not in a position to make a purchase.
By doing so, they will be able to improve their productivity and open up more opportunities to make sales.
What are the top 3 challenges you face at work right now?
Asking this question is an easy way for a salesperson to uncover a customer’s pain points. Once they have done that, they can effectively educate the customer on how the product/service being sold will eliminate those pain points.
To make the question even more effective, teach your salespeople to ask this follow-up question:
How would it affect you personally if you could not overcome the challenges you are facing?
This creates a sense of urgency by causing the customer to think about the negative consequences that could occur if they do not take action to overcome the challenges they face. Then, the salesperson can let the customer know they should purchase the product/service being sold to avoid those consequences.
What are your top 3 business priorities for the coming year?
Much like the “top 3 challenges” question above, this question can empower your salespeople to learn the information they need to close more sales.
Teach your salespeople to listen for the customer’s goals after asking this question. Then, the salesperson can position the product/service being sold as something that will effectively help the customer reach their goals.
You can also teach your salespeople to ask this follow-up question:
What would reaching your business goals this year mean for you personally?
This will get the customer thinking and talking about how much reaching their goals could benefit them and they will be much more receptive to learning about any product/service that will help them do so.
What is holding you back from reaching your profit goals?
One of the biggest pain points business owners experience is disappointing profits. It is easy to understand why – if their business is not profitable, it may go under.
That is why you should teach your salespeople to uncover a customer’s barriers to greater profitability. Once your salespeople do this, they can explain to the customer how the product/service being sold can make their business more profitable.
It is important to note that you should teach your salespeople to customize the questions mentioned in this post depending on what they are selling and who they are selling to. Otherwise, they may not be able to learn the information necessary to make a sale and you will be left wondering why your sales team is not successful.
For example, if a salesperson is selling email marketing solutions, they should not just ask a customer what holds them back from reaching their revenue/profit goals – they should ask the customer what aspect of their current email marketing system holds them back from reaching their revenue/profit goals. That way, they can easily uncover specific customer objections, pain points and goals.
Of course, you will want to teach your salespeople to ask for the sale at the end of a conversation as well. If they have actively listened, uncovered the customer’s pain points and effectively illustrated how the product/service being sold can alleviate that pain, they should be able to frequently close sales.