What are the right questions to ask in selling?

Posted by Integratis on Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Importance of asking good questions in consultative sellingIf listening is important to developing a consultative selling style, the ability to ask good questions is just as critical. Asking the right sales questions will help to build the customer relationship and advance the sales process. This involves trying to understand what the customer is thinking so that we know how to respond to them and offer them the best solutions to address their concerns. We do this by asking them the right consultative questions to determine:

  • an understanding of each other

  • their personal perception

  • Whether they have a different view

  • What they think is the most important issue

  • What their underlying concerns are

The answers to these fairly simple questions helps the sales person to focus their value proposition on things that are important to the customer. The type of insightful questions that the sales person asks conveys a great deal to the customer about the value they can provide, but how?  

How to ask the right sales questions

If you think about the news for example, a news reporter demonstrates their experience, their knowledge and their understanding of a situation by asking the right sort of questions to a politician. Similarly, a sales manager can show how much they know about the business by asking insightful questions of a salesperson about where they are in the sales cycle, or the buying cycle.  You might have experienced this yourself, where the sales manager can convey a lot about their knowledge, not by telling you, but by asking pertinent questions - and it's the same for the customer - when they see a salesperson who asks insightful questions it shows more than anything else that they understand, and that they know what's happening.

Different types of consultative questionsSales call planning, asking insightful questions

These are the five consultative questioning types all of which can provide you a great deal of information:

  1. Perception questions

  2. Implication questions

  3. Business value questions

  4. Validating questions

  5. Leading questions

The ONLY way to have a valuable sales conversation – for both you and your prospect – is to plan your questions ahead of time. Think about what you can ask that gets your prospect talking about their situation, their issues and yes, their challenges. Think about questions that might actually provoke your customer – making them think about things they haven’t thought of before. Figure out what you need to ask to determine if making a change makes good sense for your prospect. Write everything down. Then, when you actually do meet, you can say, 'In preparation for today’s meeting, I wrote down a few questions.' Now, you can relax and really listen. What have you found works best for you?