Asking to sell

The most powerful verb form: asking good questions

Upnify Editorial Team - 10 de abril, 2023

Sales Training

The success of a salesperson is determined by their ability to ask questions. The prospect will make the sale for you if you ask the right questions. As a result of his irrefutable conclusions and his sense of urgency regarding your solution, he sells himself.

The ability to ask good questions must be maintained throughout the sales process. What do we achieve by asking questions and why do we ask them? From the salesperson's point of view, the main reasons for asking questions are:

  • To establish rapport, and build understanding with the customer.
  • To discover the customer's needs and explore their values and concerns about the sale (to seek pain).
  • Provoke a buying decision and create the urgency (momentum) for the buying action to be triggered.

Questions work on the BEBS principle: rubbish in, rubbish out. If the question is rubbish, the answer will be rubbish too.


Open questions and closed questions:

Closed questions are framed in such a way that they only allow one "yes" or "no" answer. Do you know? an example of a closed question.


Open questions are designed to open up a topic and explore new avenues. They usually begin with "how", "what", "where", "when", "which" or "who", and cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no". Open-ended questions are a way to establish rapport at the beginning of a meeting, when there is very little information or when questions need to be general: How is business going, or, of course, How are you?


Open questions open up possibilities. Closed questions focus on information.  


How can we use both categories of questions in the most advantageous way? This is an open question.

Closed questions are also useful to confirm understanding: I understand that it is essential that delivery is made within the next week and that you will not buy if we cannot guarantee it. Right.

 Sometimes these questions are called "reflexive" because they "reflect" back to the customer your own words.


Whenever you are not sure, use a closed question to check that there is agreement. This is especially important at the closing of the sale when you are getting and corroborating the commitment to buy.


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Process for preparing useful sales questions:


Visualize the situation: start by thinking about the situation you will encounter. Then think about what you hope to get out of that situation.


Imagine all the possibilities: write down as many of the questions you think you should ask as come to mind. Consider the basic types of questions, open and closed, and the effect they would have.


Edit and refine: judge each question by these three rules:

  1. Asking a good sales question does not intimidate the customer, imply guilt, or put anyone in an unpleasant situation.
  2. A good sales question gets the customer to think the way you want him to think.
  3. When asking a good sales question, you ask for information at a level commensurate with the depth of the relationship established.


Develop an effective sequence: start from the most superficial or general to the most specific with specific questions.


Practice: practice several times, until you have memorized them.


It is essential to understand that how you go about asking these questions can be as important as the questions themselves. Clients are not obliged to answer your questions, nor are they obliged to feel uncomfortable or interrogated.


Recommendations for wording and phrasing questions:


Ask them correctly: using skills such as: hinting at a benefit before asking, making an acknowledgment, showing empathy or commercially leading your questions. For example, to know the budget, you can start your question with a benefit: "To be sure we are going to work within your expectations, what order of budget are you thinking of?


In the right tone: The tone, the intention, and the words with which a question is asked can define the outcome of the relationship with your customer. For example, if a salesperson is meeting with two customers, and after one of them has answered his question, he turns to the senior one and says "John, I know this project is very important to you... is there anything you would like to add to complement what Peter has said?


Choosing your words wisely: there are more than a few salespeople who are not good at asking questions. Like any of us, customers have their feelings, so to engender cooperation and trust, you should always be mindful of how you ask questions. Also, be clear and one likes to waste time.


Finally, as a strategy, never start with the most "sensitive" or "delicate" questions. Set a good atmosphere first, but never forget that the tough questions are key to getting the information you need to close the sale.

Por Upnify Editorial Team

Upnify Editorial  Team

Upnify´s Editorial Team; formed by professionals and experts in Marketing, Sales, Communication, Design and other areas. They share their experience through articles enriching the commercial culture.