50 Best Sales Questions to Improve Your Selling Power

Author
Richard Crjijevschii
Published
11/29/2021
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9m
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What are sales questions? Sales questions are information-gathering questions about what the customer wants. As a business, the main objective is to provide products or services to satisfy the needs and wants of customers. By asking your own great sales questions, you get a better understanding of what exactly customers want. They uncover the most urgent needs, which is crucial in driving the point home when pitching your products to the clients. Sales questions help identify the pain points of customers to customize the presentation of your products.

Types of sales questions 

Before we look at the actual sales questions, we will look at different types of sales questions.

Open-ended sales questions

Open-ended questions are questions that have no definite answers. The use of open-ended questions is to gather more information from the customer, thus gaining insight into what the customer wants. The main purpose of open-ended questions is to build rapport and initiate the dialogue between the sales representative and the customer. There are two categories of open-ended questions, broad and specific questions.

Broad open-ended sales questions

These are useful in building rapport with the customer. The aim is to make the customer more comfortable to start talking, and as they open up, you will gain more insight into what the client is looking for.

Examples: 

  1. “How is your company performing in this Covid era?”
  2. “With the majority working from home, how has this affected the organization?”

Specific open-ended sales questions 

These are effective in obtaining specific prospects' answers from the customers. With broad, open-ended questions, buyers may not reveal essential information. Specific open-ended questions help discover one of the following points:

  • The customer’s needs.
  • The inability of the client to identify their needs.
  • Knowledge gaps.

Examples:

  • “Earlier on, you mentioned that your organization is planning to hire more experienced professionals to increase productivity. Have you considered the option of having your in-house team getting trained to achieve the required level?”
  • “After your initial online marketing didn’t perform as expected, have you ever considered hiring experienced external professionals?”

Great open-ended questions facilitate the connection between the client and the sales representative. They bring out what is essential to the client and help them identify opportunities that arise from using your products or services.

Closed-ended questions

These have two responses, a yes and a no, sometimes followed by an explanation. They are great for obtaining detailed information about the preferences of the customer. Closed-ended questions are great for uncovering unrealized needs, and upon perceiving the need, usually, the client reconsiders their initial response.

Examples:

  • “If there was a solution to increase the productivity of your company by more than 50%, would you take it?”
  • “Do you think online advertisements are overrated?”

Closed-ended questions help you understand the standing point of your customer clearly, especially in the areas where they have misconceptions of certain things.

Sales Questions to Ask Customers

Questions to qualify prospects 

  1. “What’s your approximate budget like for this project?”
  2. “Is there a product you are using for the packaging? If there is, how is it performing?”
  3. “What is the ideal solution you are looking for?”
  4. “Has your organization used other sales tools similar to ours? How was their performance?”
  5. “What business changes do you expect by working with us?”
  6. “What other options have you tried and didn’t work out as expected?”
  7. “Which challenges have you encountered from previous suppliers during the acquisition period?”
  8. “Which factor do you think will hinder you from buying our products?”
  9. “Are there other decision-makers whose input is required before purchasing a product?”
  10. “What is your top priority today and why?”

When initializing a conversation for the first time with a prospect, you must ask the right questions.

The duties of a salesperson are to find the customer’s needs and pain points early.

The sales questions help you know if your product is exactly what the customer seeks and quickly initiate the sales process. Additionally, they help you figure out if the customer is looking for something far off from what you are offering.

A single product can be a solution to different problems. As such, the responses from the clients will enable you to customize your presentations to address the specific needs of a client.

The following section will focus on the needs analysis questions. The analysis questions are open-ended sales questions.

Analysis Questions

  1. “What are your organization’s goals?”
  2. “What do you expect to accomplish by the end of the year?”
  3. “What results are you hoping to achieve?”
  4. “How much time do you have to reach your targets before the deadline?”
  5. "How do the processes of your department affect the entire organization?"
  6. “What do you consider to be your department’s strength and weakness?”
  7. “Which trade associations are you affiliated to?”
  8.  “If you can introduce one thing to improve the operations of the company, what will it be?”
  9.  “What do you think needs to be done to increase the profitability of your company?’
  10.  “Is (state a common pain point to their particular industry) also a problem to you, too?”
  11. “What equipment or services do you need more often?”
  12.  “What does your organization consider before making a purchase?”
  13.  “Who are your current service providers, and why do you prefer them over others?”
  14.  “What do you consider when choosing a product to buy?”
  15.  “How do you consider if a product was a success or a failure?”
  16. “What are the things that you don’t like from your current supplier?”
  17.  “What benefits do you have from your current supplier?”
  18. “How do you choose companies you do business with?”
  19.  “If you were to change suppliers, what will be the reason for the change?”
  20.  “From 1 to 10, how do you rate your current system? What can be done to make it reach a 10?” 
  21. “What determines your purchasing decisions?”
  22.  "Would you prefer to minimize costs or increase the organization's productivity?"
  23.  “Which critical product features do you consider before making a purchase?”
  24.  “Are there any similar products you have considered buying in the past and didn’t do so? Why?”
  25.  “For how long do you usually assess a product before making a purchase?”

Analysis Questions about Goals

  • “What are your organization’s goals?”

This question will enable the customer to tell you more about what they want to accomplish within both short and long-term timeframes. With this information, you will be in a position to effectively present your product as the solution for the customers to quickly realize their goals.

By knowing the prospects’ goals, you will be able to perfectly align your product presentation with the customers’ needs.

  • “What do you expect to accomplish by the end of the year?”

This question is similar to the one asking about the goals but in a different way. By knowing the customer’s expectations before the year-end, you get more insight concerning their needs and pain points.

  • “What results are you hoping to achieve?”

By asking about the results they desire to achieve, you divert them from thinking about product-related goals and objectives. The results are more quantitated. As such, enable you to see where exactly your product fits in. For example, if you are an advertising company, your customers might be looking for a way to increase the awareness of their products and boost sales. Your customers might be looking for a way to enhance their sales process by 50% after the advertisement. As an advertisement expert, you will be able to describe how your solutions are the ideal choice for the customers to achieve their desired results.

  • “How much time do you have to reach your targets before the deadline?”

Including the time frame in your own questions, you bring up a sense of more urgency to the situation. By knowing what they are currently doing, and the deadline that they have, you can present your products or services as the solution for them to complete their tasks more quickly.

  • "How do the processes of your department affect the entire organization?"

By knowing how the department affects the entire organization, you get insights into the organization’s needs, too. It will help you identify other available options, in case some of your products can further improve the company’s operations. If that is the case, you then present other products to more prospects.

Analysis Questions About Weaknesses

  • “What do you consider to be your department’s strength and weakness?”

The main aim of the question is to inquire about their weakness, even though you ask about their strength. It presents you as a caring sales representative rather than a rushing sales rep who wants to get the customer to buy their products. Knowing their weakness helps you identify how your product fits into the equation to improve the efficiency of the customers' operations.

  • “Which trade associations are you affiliated to?”

If you are offering acquisition tools, marketing, or sales software, this question is crucial in the future product’s effectiveness. If they are not part of any association, their marketing won't get better even after using your product. 

  • “If you can introduce one thing to improve the operations of the company, what will it be?”

It is an indirect question to find out about the areas within the organization that require improvement. You will have a better understanding of the organization concerning its shortcomings, even if the response is not directly related to your product. 

  • “What do you think needs to be done to increase the profitability of your company?’

People are different, and so is their perspective of things. By asking a customer, "What do you think?" you provide them with a platform to express their thoughts. Understanding how the customers view things is essential in establishing a way of presenting your products to them. You can even refine the question further by asking about the effectiveness of a particular department that can benefit from using your products or services. 

  • “Is (state a common pain point to their particular industry) also a problem to you?”

Usually, the same industries have similar problems. By directly asking this question, you get a better understanding of the company's response to the problem. Also, the customer might be experiencing the problem and not have a solution for it. The mentioning of the problem produces awareness which the customer might consider asking if there is a solution to it. 

  • “What equipment or services do you need more often?”

This question will help you understand if your products are among the resources they use on a day-to-day basis. If not, you can then start to produce products or services to cater to that need. More often than not, companies in the same industry have similar working processes. As such, you can then create a new product for other companies. 

Analysis Questions about Buying Processes

  • “What does your organization consider before making a purchase?”

When making a product presentation to customers, the key factor is to show that it will be of great benefit to their company. When you know the buying criteria of the customer, you are in a better position to present valuable information that serves the needs of the customer. 

  • "Who are your current service providers, and why do you prefer them over others?"

In case the prospect is using another software with a similar function as yours, asking about the competitor is crucial. By knowing the competitor, you can figure out what they might have used to win over the client in the first place. Also, it provides you an opportunity to present your product in a superior way that makes the competitor's solutions irrelevant. 

  • “What do you consider when choosing a product to buy?”

The above question prompts the user to tell the key factors which they use to choose a product. One of the factors might be that the product must ensure that the company is profitable at the end of the day. With this information, you can then use it to make a compelling presentation. 

  • "How do you determine if a product was a success or a failure?"

By asking this question, you get more information on how the customer defines their success criteria and failures. You will get insight on how to demonstrate the value of your product or service to the customer.

  • “What are the things that you don’t like from your current supplier?”

The above question enables you to know some of the reasons that might have caused the customer to switch suppliers. By having this information, you can use it to find other clients experiencing the same problem. Also, you can use this information to understand where your product is a better solution. 

  • “What benefits do you have from your current supplier?”

It's essential to know the strengths of your competitors. It allows you to position and present your product in such a way that it will be superior to that of the competitor.

  • “How do you choose companies you do business with?”

By asking this question, you get more insights into their expectations. For example, they might say they prefer a company with superb customer service or a company that provides quality products. This question allows you to understand your customers even better.

  • “If you were to change suppliers, what would be the reason for the change?”

It is one of the crucial sales qualification questions as neglecting it might result in the customer shifting suppliers away from you if they still experience the same problem that caused them to change suppliers. This question enables you not to repeat the same problem as previous suppliers. 

  • "From 1 to 10, how do you rate your current system? What can be done to make it reach a 10?" 

It allows you to find out more about their internal process and what the company sells. If there is something your product can do to improve its current solution, you note it down and use it for the presentation later on.

  • “What determines your decision-making process?”

This question enables you to find if your customers are more towards acquiring a cheaper product or they value quality. It also enables you to determine if they will be slower during the acquisition process, especially if they are more concerned about saving money.

  • "Would you prefer to minimize costs or increase the organization's productivity?"

It enables you to find out where the priorities of the customer lie. Depending on the type of your product, this question can provide some information that you can use to qualify leads.

  • “Which critical product features do you consider before making a purchase?”

Customers may buy the same product for different reasons. By understanding which necessary features they are looking for, it will be easier for you to highlight the feature when making a presentation.

  • “Are there any similar products you have considered buying in the past and didn’t? Why?”

By asking this question, you get information on some things that are a deal-breaker for your customers. It will brace you for potential objections so that you can prepare in advance.

  • “For how long do you usually assess a product before making a purchase?”

This question enables you to approximate the duration you might need to contact the client before closing the deal.

Questions to Ask Customers to Close the Deal

When about to conclude the conversation, you need to ask when you can expect to hear from them again. Take note that when asking this, you need to word questions carefully not to sound too pushy. Do some background research of the business leads to find out their way of doing business. Below are some of the closing questions you can ask before hanging up.

  1. “How soon can we begin doing business with you?”
  2. “What are the odds that our product is the perfect solution for your organization?”
  3. “How much time do you need before we start doing business?”
  4. "Would you like a physical presentation of the product to understand all its capabilities?"
  5. For a company that is already a customer - "What made you come back to us?"

Ask Customers about Your Product

After getting a dedicated contact to purchase a product, you still need to communicate with the client concerning the effectiveness of the product in their organization. If you fail to perform this, you are in great danger of losing clients. How? The clients might discover something unsatisfactory about the product which you might have overlooked, and instead of reporting it, they might choose to move to a different supplier. 

Therefore, by asking for feedback with follow-up questions on the performance of your product, you gain information to improve the product.

Remember, to convince an unsatisfied customer who has moved to a competitor to return to you is close to impossible.

As such, to prevent that from occurring, the customers must always be satisfied. Below are questions to ensure that you don’t miss any of the warning signs. 

  1. “Has our products managed to meet all of your expectations?”
  2. “From 1 to 10, how do you rate our product?”
  3. "How did you come up with that score?"
  4. “What other features would you like to be incorporated into the product?”
  5. “Are there any challenges you are facing from using our product?”
  6. “Was our customer service helpful? Do you have any complaints?”
  7. “What changes have occurred to your organization after you started using the product?”
  8. “Would you recommend our product to a colleague?”
  9. “Would you be interested in our latest version of the product?”
  10. “When the current subscription expires, will you renew?”

Ask Better Questions to Analyze Your Customer’s Needs

For salespeople, asking great sales questions enables you to gain insight into the customer's pain points and needs. The sales questions ensure that the conversation is flowing smoothly to keep the customer genuinely interested. You will be able to present your product as the ultimate solution to their organizational challenges. Great sales qualification questions help you get leads early, nurture leads, and turn them into paying customers. More customers mean more sales and increased revenue for the company.

Conclusion 

To increase the chances of closed deals with customers, they must be convinced that your product is the best solution. The sales questions listed above enable you to present your product as the solution to their needs and an antidote to their business pain points. Remember, you don't have to ask all of the questions listed above. It will be a disaster to make a client feel like they are being interrogated. The ideal conversation must ensure a connection on a personal level.

Choose the question that aligns with the flow of the conversation. 

Above all, listen well to their responses as they contain the critical information to make your presentation convincing. Finally, the best way to ask these great questions is if you have prospects. Get business leads through the help of lead generation experts at Belkins.

Richard Crjijevschii

Richard Crjijevschii

Sales Team Lead at Belkins
It is a known fact that no successful business can go without a professional sales manager heading the team. Richard is a constant learner and that is what makes him among the best sales manager in the industry.