15 Powerful Open Ended Sales Questions To Close More Sales
One of the most powerful tools you can have in your sales toolkit, is the ability to ask open ended sales questions.
Most Sales Professionals and Business Owners have a flawed sales process; they start by building a little bit of rapport, and then go into ‘pitch’ mode – talking about their fabulous features and benefits, hoping that something will stick.
I call this ‘premature presentation’ – and it doesn’t leave your potential client satisfied.
Instead, by knowing how to ask open ended sales questions, you can ask your potential clients to expand on their situation and what they want to achieve, which will give them greater clarity on what’s important, and you’ll slowly be helping them sell themselves.
In this article, I’m going to show you 15 open ended sales questions to help you open up dialogue, and get to the truth of what they’re trying to achieve, and what pain they’re trying to distance themselves from.
15 Powerful Open Ended Sales Questions To Close More Sales
“How has your day been so far?”
A simple question that allows them to either open up about their day being good so far, or perhaps not so well. More importantly, it’s just an opportunity to have a light, non-personal friendly chat rather than getting straight to business.
“How long have you been working at *insert company*?”
This is an example of getting them talking about themselves, which can lead onto more open ended questions. The answer they reply with can you give you a little insight into the person you’re dealing with.
If they’ve been there a long time, perhaps they value certainty, security and being loyal. It may also mean they like doing business for the long run, which could mean they will do business with you for the long term if you play your cards right.
Conversely – if they have been there for a short while, and your further questions teach you that they move around a bit; they may be more of a risk taker, or even mean they need a win to prove themselves to the new company.
“How often do these issues arise?”
Not only does this give you clarity on the issues they are facing, but getting them to expand on the frequency is beneficial because it makes them relive the pain – meaning there is more reason to have it solved.
“What do you think these issues are costing you?”
In our sales process, we cover a topic called ‘Money Talk’. This is an area where we find out what it is costing them having the issues, and also what it will cost if they don’t have it fixed. This open ended sales question brings home the seriousness of needing change.
“If you had to change something about your current situation, what do you think you’d need to do first?”
This does two things.
It has them expand on the pain, and secondly, it gets their mind in motion that they’re already going to make change. This is beneficial, because you’re giving them momentum; and momentum towards making a buying decision.
“Can you give me an example of…”
One of the common mistakes Sales Professionals make is that we assume we know what they’re saying the first time. By asking them to give you an example, it’ll clarify further what they actually mean, and also help build more empathy because it demonstrates you truly care.
“Thanks for sharing that. In regards to *insert their example*, can you be a bit more specific about…?”
Much like the question above, use this if you need them to expand on an example further.
“What options have you currently looked at?”
This question is great, because it serves you in two ways. Firstly, it gives you intel on what competitors they’re looking at.
Secondly, it gets them talking about making change, so they further sell themselves on the idea that they will take action and in fact need to make a change.
“What do you currently like about your current provider/ supplier/ incumbent?”
Another intel gathering question; you’ll learn the values of your client, and what you need to do to ensure you keep them happy too.
“What do you think your current provider/ supplier/ incumbent can improve on?”
This question gets them talking about the problems (pain) they’re currently having by using your competitor. The more you get them to give examples and expand on this, the more they’re selling themselves on needing to change.
“On a scale from 1- 10, how important is getting these issues solved?”
As mentioned, assumptions are a problem in sales. It may seem like the issue is a big problem, but if they give it a 2 or 3 rating, then you’re on a different page to them. Find out the urgency of the issue, and whether you perhaps need to revisit asking more pain finding related questions.
“What are the main outcomes you’re wanting to achieve this year?”
This is an example of future pacing. You’re getting them to detail a positive future, and one without their current stresses. Focusing on this is as powerful as focusing on pain.
“What other issues are you currently facing that we haven’t discussed yet?”
This is an example of a pain-finding question. It’s one of the most powerful open ended sales questions, because it gives you the opportunity to learn about more pain that you may have accidentally overlooked.
“What does your competition currently do in this space?”
By having them discuss what the competition is doing, it creates a bit of a keeping up with the Joneses situation. It also creates a bit of fear that their competition is moving forward; and if they do nothing, then it’ll create uncertainty for their own future.
“Have I covered everything – is there anything else you’d like to ask me?”
I’ve kept this question for last, as it’s generally one of the last questions you’d ask in your conversation. This allows them to expand on anything you didn’t mention, or perhaps raise any issues that may have been on their mind, but had failed to bring up earlier.
Asking powerful open ended sales questions are more important than any ‘closing technique’ you’ll learn out there. This is because by asking quality questions, you help the potential client sell themselves, rather than trying hard and pushy techniques and do all the selling yourself.
It’s a lot easier for a person to sell themselves, than you trying to persuade them instead.