Although there is no standard set of questions you should ask on sales calls, the conversation should not be entirely unstructured. You don't have much time to create a connection with your prospects, so make sure you don't waste it on an empty filler.
Don’t ask overused sales questions that sound scripted. Prepare and study your sales questionnaires in advance to create a great line of questioning.
No matter your sales style, it’s essential to phase your questions and not jump into selling your products right away. It helps to know the crucial elements of a successful call, so you know what questions to ask at different stages of the conversation and convert more leads into customers.
Here are the top questions to ask during each stage of the sales call—to build rapport, navigate buyer wants and needs, and drive sales to the close.
Initial Stage: The Opening of Your Call
The initial stage is the make-or-break part of your sales call. Your choice of initial sales questions can significantly affect the rest of the conversation. At this point, you aim to build rapport and get your prospects comfortable with you.
Start with a warm and friendly greeting to set the right tone and get them talking by asking questions. Your opening questions can be personal or about their company but not about sales straightaway. Here are examples of initial questions:
1. “How did you spend your weekend?”
Questions like this one give insight into what matters to your potential buyer. You’ll learn about their hobbies, passion projects, and more. Asking this type of question also gives them the impression that you’re not just there to sell them something.
2. “How's your business these days?”
This question may seem broad, but it can get your prospect to start talking about a few things that are important to them. It serves as a warm-up question that shows them your interest in their business.
3. “How is your business affected by _____________ (insert an industry-related event)?”
or “I see your business is in _______ industry. What do you consider as your biggest challenge in keeping up with your competition?”
Asking questions about the industry demonstrates your familiarity with and interest in the buyer’s business beyond simply stating, “Yes, we’ve worked in (industry).”
Qualifying Stage: Understanding the Need or Problem
This stage is where you find out if the prospect is a good fit for your product or service. A potential buyer is interested in or needs your product or service, can afford it, and is likely to buy it.
Your questions must uncover the “problem” or “pain point” that makes your products and services the solution.
4. “How Did You Hear About Us?”
It’s a simple qualifying question that can tell a lot about a prospect’s potential to buy based on how they found you.
5. “What business problem are you solving with this offering?”
This question establishes a business pain or whether a need for your product exists. If there’s no problem the prospect is trying to solve, there’s no real reason for them to buy.
6. “When did your company start operating?"
Knowing about the length of time in business can give you an idea of stability.
7. “What’s the size of your organization?”
Asking this question helps you know the number of employees, the revenue, and the number of customers. A start-up company may have a different need from an established one.
8. “What are the top challenges your team or company is currently facing?"
Throw selling questions that let them tackle their challenges and direct them towards the products and services you are selling.
9. “What are the results you want to achieve, and how do you want to achieve them?”
This question is getting you started on digging deeper into their problem. This excellent business question can help you pitch how your product or service can solve the problem.
10. “How would achieving these results benefit you, your team, and your company?”
This question encourages positive emotions from your prospect and gets them excited about working with you.
Pitching Stage: Offering the Solution
Once you understand someone’s pain points and preferences, you are ready to make that perfect pitch!
At the pitching stage, you have the opportunity to let your prospects realize that your product or service can solve their problems. Keep them engaged by focusing on their situation and what’s in it for them.
Remember, your main goal is to “convince and convert.” Asking a question is a highly effective way to start a pitch.
11. “What would the consequences be if we didn’t solve these issues?"
Asking this question highlights the problem that your product or service can solve and creates a sense of urgency in them to solve the problem.
12. “What motivated you to search for a solution now?”
This question is a good starting point for your sales pitch. It reinforces the need of the buyer for a solution to their problem.
13. “Have you ever experienced…? Doesn’t it seem like…?”
You can use a yes-or-no question to grab their attention. But it will be best if you tailor your pitch question specifically to the prospect's business.
Final Stage: The Close
Closing can mean two things—making the sale or converting the prospect to the next stage in the buying journey.
14. “If you’re not currently searching for a solution, why not?”
It’s helpful to find out why your prospect is not inclined to accept your offer. It can be that your solution is not a priority, a budget issue, or a competitor's product is already in use.
15. “If we could find a way to deal with [objection],would you sign the contract on [set period in time]?”
If the prospect isn’t ready to purchase, don’t get off the call without asking them to take action of some kind. You could ask your potential buyer to do something that requires less commitment but still brings them closer to a yes.
16. "If we gave you the product at this price, is there any reason that you wouldn't do business with our company?"
If the prospect's response to this question is a "no," you have indirectly made them agree to the contract. But if it's a "yes," take this opportunity to address objections without bringing the deal to an end.
17. "It seems like [product] is a good fit for[company]. What do you think?"
This question reminds your prospect about why they are interested in buying. Using this question to close is a non-aggressive way of bringing the opportunity to the decision stage without sounding pushy.
18. “When would you like to achieve these results?”
Everyone likes the idea of progress. If prospects associate the purchase with moving towards their goal, they'll be more likely to commit. This question is another non-aggressive way of bringing the potential buyer to the decision stage.
We don't recommend using these questions as a script for your sales call but rather as a guide in creating your line of questioning. Potential customers are at different stages in the buying journey, so one approach won’t work for all of them. Start by getting to know them better and take it from there.
Need more advice on generating revenue for your company? Check out our services at Verde Strategies and read more tips on our blog.