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10 x Questions To Ask A Potential Client

The 5% InstituteConsultative Selling 10 x Questions To Ask A Potential Client
questions to ask a potential client

10 x Questions To Ask A Potential Client

Making a great first impression in your sales conversations is key, and in this article, we’ll look at ten questions to ask a potential client to help you with this.

 

Although there are various questions to ask a potential client; we’ll be looking at it with the following structure:

 

  • Rapport
  • Qualification
  • Objection handling
  • Probing

 

Read on to learn our recommended questions to ask a potential client.

 

 

10 x Questions To Ask A Potential Client

 

 

Rapport Building Questions To Ask A Potential Client:

 

 

“Where were you working before you started at [current company]?”

 

 

This question is a great question to ask a potential client for two reasons.

 

First of all, it allows them to open up about themselves and their previous experience. People generally like talking about themselves, so this should put them in a positive mood.

 

Secondly, your role as a Sales Professional is to be an investigator.

 

By having them shed light on their previous workplace and experience, you can learn a little more about them as a person, as well as how they respond to any follow up questions you may ask.

 

Don’t just listen to what they say, but also how they say it.

 

 

“What are you currently working on at the moment?”

 

 

Not only is this a good question to build rapport, but we also recommend this as one of the questions to ask a potential client because you can see what their priorities are.

 

If they have a number of key tasks or projects they need to complete by year end, and your product or service doesn’t contribute to these in any way – you may struggle with a purchasing decision later.

 

It also gives you the opportunity to see how you can potentially help them with their goals, prior to going into your sales conversation.

 

 

“What brought you to work at [insert company]?”

 

 

Much like the previous question, we recommend this as one of our rapport building questions to ask a potential client because not only does it get them speaking about themselves, but it gives light into their personal ambitions.

 

Are they career focused?

 

What kind of plans do they have for their career and future?

 

How can you perhaps help them get there with your product or service?

 

Of course, you wouldn’t start presenting here (as that’ll be premature), but it gives you a little more insight into the potential client you’re dealing with.

 

Related article: A Guide To Building Sales Relationships/ Building Rapport

 

 

Qualification Questions To Ask A Potential Client:

 

 

One of the biggest mistakes Sales Professionals make in their day to day sales conversations, is sitting down and having meetings with people who do not qualify for their product or service.

 

You may be familiar with an acronym called BANT, which was created by IBM to qualify their potential clients. BANT stands for:

 

  • Budget
  • Authority
  • Need
  • Time frame

 

Further reading: BANT In Sales – How Does It Work?

 

Below are a few qualification questions to ask potential clients we’d recommend you also use.

 

 

“What’s prevented you from trying to solve the issue until now?”

 

 

We recommend changing this one up to suit your own style as well as the language of your potential client. This is on our list of qualifying questions to ask a potential client because it lets you into two insights.

 

First of all – it allows you to investigate what potential roadblocks the business may have, that’ll prevent them from making a buying decision.

 

There could be someone in senior management who has prevented change from happening before, and you may need to also sit with that person to push your deal through.

 

Secondly, it allows you a little insight into their desire for change.

 

How much of a priority is it for them to change, and acquire a solution to their problem?

 

For a sale to occur, you need two emotional drivers. These are trust, and desire.

 

If the person lacks desire, there may not be enough emotion to drive change.

 

You can of course still proceed with your sales conversation; however, you will need to ask more pain driven probing questions to create desire.

 

 

“Who else is usually involved before your company makes a buying decision?”

 

 

As mentioned, many Sales Professionals make the mistake of sitting down with people who are not qualified.

 

This is one of the important qualification questions to ask a potential client, because it is key to know who is involved before purchasing decisions are made.

 

This way you can have sales conversations with people who are actually qualified in making a purchasing decision, rather than people who will need to ask someone else after you’ve had your discussion.

 

A big reason as to why the “I need to speak to” sales objection comes up, is because you’re not learning early who the purchasing decision makers are.

 

By learning this early, you can try to ensure they are present for your sales conversations. This objection handling question makes this a great addition to your questions to ask a potential client.

 

 

“When were you looking at having a solution in place by?”

 

 

We’ve added this to the list of qualification questions to ask a potential client, because knowing your potential clients time frame is crucial.

 

Do they want a solution within the next week, or perhaps even sooner?

 

Once you have your response – can you deliver an excellent required outcome by the requested date and time frame?

 

This is imperative to know, because if you can’t deliver it can result in a bruised reputation – as well as potential legal ramifications.

 

Ensure this is clear and find out why.

 

If the time frame doesn’t work or isn’t realistic, perhaps you can work on something that works for both parties.

 

 

Objection Handling Questions To Ask A Potential Client:

 

 

Our objection handling questions to ask a potential client, are framed differently then our previous questions.

 

The reason being, is unlike many other sales trainers out there – we have a five-step system for understanding, breaking down, and overcoming sales objections.

 

Many trainers teach to use various sales scripts when handling sales objections.

 

As per our article in Entrepreneur; we don’t like this approach as it makes you sound robotic, and not to mention; it’s difficult to remember.

 

We instead would like you to follow the following steps:

 

1 – Listen carefully

2 – Repeat back and ask them to expand

3 – Validate the objection

4 – Re-frame the objection/ current belief

5 – Confirm their new belief

 

To learn how to do this in detail, check out the related article below.

 

Related article: Overcoming Objections In Sales – A Step By Step Guide

 

 

Sales Probing Questions To Ask A Potential Client:

 

 

Below are some sales probing questions to ask a potential client. Sales probing questions are important, because they can help you learn:

 

  • How they buy
  • Qualifying
  • Finding pain
  • Asking for the sale
  • And much more

 

 

“What’s currently holding you can from reaching your goals?”

 

 

This is a great question to ask a potential client because it lets you dive a bit deeper into the pain holding them back from their desired outcome.

 

Pain is important to learn if you want to close the sale, because people buy to avoid pain, and move towards pleasure.

 

 

“What would you say are the top three issues you’re currently facing, that I need to know about?”

 

 

In The 5% Sales Blueprint, we teach Sales Professionals and Business Owners that they should at least as a minimum find three pain points for why their potential client wants to buy.

 

This is one of the powerful pain finding questions to ask a potential client, because it up front gives you the top three things to expand on to find pain.

 

 

“Would you like me to help you achieve this?”

 

 

This is one of my favourite closing questions to ask a potential client, because it either gets a yes – or allows them to expand on what may be holding them back from a buying decision now.

 

If you’ve followed your sales process correctly – this question usually makes it very easy to win the sale.

 

It not pushy and comes across as very consultative; almost positioning you as a partner in achieving the same outcome.

 

Related article: Sales Probing Questions – 20 x To Use Daily

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

These ten questions to ask a potential client will help you build rapport, learn about their situation, pain points, and how to win more sales.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about up skilling your sales process and conversation, you can register for our 7 Day Sales Challenge here.

Khabeer Rockley

Khabeer Rockley is a Sales & Business Trainer, and the Founder of The 5% Institute

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