Open-ended questions for sales cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." They are designed to encourage a detailed and thoughtful response from the person being asked. These questions typically begin with words like "What," "How," and "Why,"
Open-ended sales questions aim to engage prospects in a conversation to understand their true needs and issues. providing a better understanding of their unique situation. They help salespeople establish rapport, uncover valuable insights, and guide the sales process effectively.
By using open-ended questions throughout the sales process, from the initial conversation to closing the deal, sales reps can uncover valuable information that helps tailor their approach and offer appropriate solutions.
Some key characteristics of open-ended sales questions are:
When it comes to sales qualification, asking open-ended questions for sales is a vital part of the sales process.. If you don't ask the right questions, you won't uncover what your customer desires or understand the problems they need solving. And not having that information can cost you a sale right from the beginning.
Benefits of Asking Open Ended Question Include:
In sales, open-ended questions and closed questions serve different purposes.
In sales conversations, using a combination of open-ended and closed questions can help gather both broad insights and specific details, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the prospect's needs and enabling a tailored sales approach.
Closed questions can be used to set up a "yes set" strategy.
The "yes set" technique aims to get prospects into a habit of saying "yes" early on in the conversation. This can increase the likelihood of the prospect continuing to say "yes" throughout the sales process.
To implement the "yes set" strategy using closed questions, salespeople strategically ask a series of questions that are designed to elicit “yes” responses. The idea is to create a pattern of agreement and build momentum towards a positive outcome.
Robert Cialdini has done lots of research in the field of influence and persuasion; he found that the yes set works because of our built-in need to be consistent. “The consistency principle.” (mentioned as the second major point on this page)
The yes set is still effective even if the person you are communicated with isn’t talking. The non-verbal yet set is just as effective.
However, the "yes set" strategy can be recognised by the prospect leading them to think they are being manipulated
Building a "yes set" through non-sales related questions can be an effective approach to prevent prospects from recognizing the technique.
Engaging in genuine conversation unrelated to the sales pitch helps create rapport and establish a comfortable environment. It allows prospects to let their guard down and feel comfortable, leading to a higher likelihood of positive responses.
Some people have trouble thinking of question’s to ask that will get a positive response. Here are a few more that won’t fail you:
Open ended questions can do different things for you in sales
When working to build a relationship with the potential customer and establish a personal connection, use Rapport Building Questions.
The prospect needs to be open with you in order for you to find out their wants and needs.
By using these rapport building questions, you can foster a deeper connection, gain insights into your prospects' needs, and establish yourself as a trusted advisor. Remember to actively listen to their responses and continue the conversation based on their interests and concerns.
When dealing with new leads, it's important to assess their interest and figure out where they stand in the buying process. Qualifying questions help you understand how interested the prospect is and what steps you should take next to close the deal.
Sample Qualifying questions
Questions to Understand Needs or Problems, also known as Discovery questions:
When you want to find out more about the difficulties your prospects are facing, use questions that focus on their needs or problems. These are sometimes called pain-based questions. And don’t forget it’s not just about pains but also about what they want to gain. Just make sure to ask about the areas where your product or service can actually help.
Questions about the Positive Effects or Benefits
If you're wondering how to convince a potential customer, ask them questions about the positive effects or benefits they're looking for. This will help you understand which features of your product or service they find most interesting.
Once you have their answers, you can use them to guide your approach.
To get ready, familiarize yourself with the features and benefits of your product or service. This way, you can ask potential customers thoughtful questions that encourage them to share their thoughts.
Questions about a Better Future or Change:
These questions help prospects imagine how it would feel to achieve their goals by using your company's products or services. They are very effective in helping them envision a positive outcome.
Objection-based questions are used to identify any concerns or objections that could potentially disrupt your sales process. They help you gather the necessary information to either address those objections or determine if the leads are not a good fit, allowing you to focus on other prospects.
What if a prospect doesn't provide enough details about a particular topic? You can ask open-ended questions to help them clarify their thoughts and opinions. These questions are useful for guiding sales discussions while still allowing prospects to feel in control.
Questions to Close the Sale:
To turn potential leads into paying customers, it's crucial to ask the right open-ended sales questions at the right moments. Here are a few questions that will help you finalize the deal and earn the commission bonus you've been aiming for:
You know the saying, every ending is a new beginning.
When you successfully close a deal, it's just the start of your company's relationship with a new customer. That's why it's important to ask interesting sales questions after closing to make sure customers are happy with their experience and eager to continue doing business with you.
Once you’ve prepared your sales discovery questions for each stage of your prospect meeting, you should think about how to ask open-ended questions for sales.
Everything from the order in which you ask your questions to the various ways you transition from one to the next should be considered so that your flow seems natural and your prospects never feel like your conversations are overly structured.
Sales professionals who have trained use a series of needs-based questions to uncover the prospect’s pain. (SPIN Selling)
When asking open-ended questions for sales, start by asking board queries first, then working your way down to more specific ones.
Begin with general questions like, "What are some things you'd like to change about your current situation?" Then, gradually ask more specific questions to dive deeper.
For example, ask a simple, non-threatening question to start such as, “What should I know about your business? Then look for areas to explore in greater detail based on the response you receive, using pointed questions to reveal important details.
Be Curious. It’s important to show sincere interest during the open-ended questioning process. Think about how you can help your prospects rather than the sales commission they represent. Nobody wants to interact with sleazy sales reps.
If you can make your sales calls about your prospects instead of about you, your company, or even the products and services you sell, you’ll have more success.
Shut your mouth. One of the best things you can do on a sales call is listen.
Let your prospects speak about the things on their minds. Ask questions that give you a deeper understanding of their circumstances. Listen actively and ask questions that provide a deeper understanding of their situation.Then adjust your approach to address their wants, needs, and concerns. Doing so will form a bond between you and potential customers.
As leadership guru Michael Hyatt says, “you will often find that people volunteer amazing amounts of information that you would have never obtained any other way.”
Keep it personal. While preparation is important, avoid sounding overly rehearsed or robotic. Strive to make the conversation feel personal and build rapport with potential customers rather than coming across as robotic.. Focus on getting to know them and how your products or services can improve their lives.
This isn’t an invitation to not prepare for your sales calls. Instead, it’s a warning to not let your preparation distract you from your goal: to get to know your prospects so that you can sell them products and/or services that will make their lives better.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Asking Open-Ended Questions for Sales:
Remember, successful sales require patience and building rapport with your prospects.