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Productive Questions

By: Joyce Hayne

In sales, we need to find out as much as possible about our clients, and the best way to do this is to get them answering questions. After all, a successful client interview should have your client talking 70% of the time. By asking the right questions, you will also build the client’s trust, and discover a prospect’s buying motivations.

Open-ended questions uncover the most information and are the best way to get someone talking. If you ask a simple question, which will only generate a simple answer, you’ll be the one doing most of the talking.

Following are some questions that I find help uncover the client’s problems:

  • What’s the biggest challenge you are facing this year?
  • How has this issue impacted your company?
  • What impact does this issue have on your and your team?
  • How much do you think this issue is costing your company?
  • What will happen if you don’t find a solution?
  • Why is this so important to you?
  • Who is involved in the decision-making process?
  • When do you need this product?

If you find you’re getting short answers, prompt the client with questions such as:

  • Can you tell me more about that?
  • What else?
  • Could you be more specific?
  • How long has this been an issue?

Remember to actively listen to the answers by writing notes and acknowledging responses. Summarize the discussion to validate the client and confirm your understanding of their problems, then offer your solution.