Open sales questions are questions that seek qualitative answers. It is a strategy that serves to center the conversation around the potential customer, their pain and how the solution your team is selling may (or may not) help you.
Asking is an art. And, well, anyone can paint a pretty or an ugly picture. Although the concept of beauty is relative and changes for each one.
But the fact is: are you and your team asking the right questions of your prospects? You want to prevent all inquiries from being merely answered with a “yes” or no”.
The goal should be, most of the time, to ask open-ended questions. Questions that provide insights and gaps for your team to accelerate sales. Detailed explanations are valuable.
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After all, they give the seller the necessary data to adapt the speech. And if he does that, he creates value, gains confidence and gets closer to selling.
Therefore, we have separated the following open questions for sales. They will be useful for you and your team to apply in your company:
- Expectation with the meeting;
- Customer difficulties;
- Customer priorities;
- Customer goals;
- Previous experiences;
- Previous issues;
- Search for a solution;
- Duel with the competition;
- Internal processes;
- Dealing with frustrations;
- Decision process;
- Implementation time;
- Barriers to success;
- Next steps;
- Outstanding questions;
- Last impediment.
Let’s check them all out? Good reading!
16 open questions for sales for your company to apply
Open-ended questions help salespeople speed up closing sales. This is something you might have already imagined. Now what questions to ask? How to introduce them?
Well, in the list that we will present below, we won’t give you the finished question. This will depend on your company persona.
You need to formulate the question using terms that are common to her. Here, we’ll talk about crucial topics to cover that will help you increase sales.
Open-ended questions for you to ask throughout the entire sales process. There are all sorts of approaches to different stages of the sales funnel.
You create “insist litters” inquiries according to what makes sense according to your client’s profile. Combined?
Ah, important to say. These open-ended questions are targeted towards B2B sales. In summary, they work better for the inside sales model, when the sale is not in person.
But with an adaptation here, another one there, you can also use them with the end customer. That said, check out the examples we’ve set aside for you:
At the beginning of the meeting, it is good practice to try to stand out immediately. This will ensure that your team will lead it.
A good measure is to solicit the opinion and ideas the prospect is having. Afterward, write down what he or they say and make sure all these points are covered in the meeting.
If one of these topics wasn’t in line with one planned, it’s time to adapt. Always focus on the client and their pain. You can also try an alternative approach.
Do this by listing the items you thought of discussing at your meeting. Consequently, this will help your team to better understand the most latent pains of this potential client.
Within this list, it is necessary to ask which the prospect considers to be a priority. And, of course: focus more on them.
If you want to avoid asking directly what the customer’s pain is, that’s fine. Ask him to describe what his daily activities are like.
This allows you to identify certain aspects that your service or product can contribute to improvements. If you need to, direct the prospect right now.
Ask some more specific questions if the answer is too broad. If necessary, interrupt. But do this by generating value for him.
What does that mean? If the client points out a pain, it is necessary to be didactic. It is crucial to talk about how the solution helps him.
Right after. Mention the improvements, some case, etc. As a result, this will increase the power of persuasion towards this potential customer.
It will also make him trust you even more.
This open-ended question will provide a better understanding of the customer’s reality. The idea is to discuss several focal points that your solution will go into to help you.
It’s time to understand, once and for all, if the customer has a good deal with the business. If so, be didactic and explain how the company will help you.
If the prospect is talking to your team, it’s for a reason. So what is he trying to accomplish? Let him express visions, plans, and goals.
Even if these aren’t 100% realistic. Allow the customer to talk about their vision of success.
Afterward, express how you see the solution that your company sells. Here, it is necessary to talk about two types of goals:
- of the business (with a more strategic view)
They are different goals, right? So ask separate questions to get the answers. Question how he sees the solution helping people.
But also how she sees her contributing to the company’s organizational culture.
Here is the time to make a series of reflections:
- Did you try any solution before ours?
- What went wrong?
- How long has this been tried.
And a few more that you deem necessary. The mission here is to get as much information as possible. Even so that your company doesn’t make the same mistakes.
You don’t need to ask for your competitor’s name. But if he does, you should know why your solution is superior.
In order to convince you, talk about it making a comparison. Just to illustrate, a good practice here is to have your sales playbook close by.
In it, it will be great to be able to rescue a similar case and share it. Show the same current situation, only with another client. Another company that was with supplier A and switched to its solution.
It’s another way to ask the open question above and get the same insights. Your potential customer will discuss the solutions he has tried.
But it will also address another side, the feeling and experience taken from that. It will speak of frustrations, attempts and changes in direction.
And everything that was sought for the previous solution to work. It is up to the seller to note the relevant points here.
The mission is to adapt the speech and prevent any item from being repeated with your company. Talk about why your business differs from the competition. And how these frustrations will be avoided.
Gathering information about the business timeline is crucial. And also why the client promotes changes. So it’s good to know if the customer has had a bad experience.
Ask, if you can, for a wealth of details. It may not be the result of poor customer service. It may just be the competition’s solution did not fully serve you. Or just partially.
Was there an isolated, specific case that promoted or accelerated this change? Or did the company just change its focus?
Let the prospect talk about the reasons that kept him from achieving the proposed goals. And remember. Whenever you are going to stop talking, do so by showing how your solution is differentiated.
No exaggeration, of course. No forcing. It’s boring.
We left for a more strategic part. We talk about the client’s pain internally. Now, it’s time to address how they harm him externally.
I mean, if he has a problem, it will be reflected in the contact with the customer. And then the competition he has will benefit.
It is very likely that, because the prospect does not have round processes, it is losing customers to competitors.
Let him expose his frustrations. Let it count. Then talk about how you will be his strategic ally to reverse this situation as soon as possible.
Also take the opportunity to share a case of a client in the same situation. Show him how he trusted you.
How he put his solution into practice and today reaps great results from the decision he took.
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This open-ended question is more aimed at the industry where exactly you will fit your solution. Talk about the composition of the team, the activities that each one performs on a daily basis.
For example, comment which functionality of your service will benefit activity X, Y and Z. Ask about what works today in the processes in question and what is lacking.
Also find out if there are metrics in the industry and what the numbers are. This will give you some more valuable trading data.
Not all prospects like to face up to their pain. Likewise, exposing your processes and/or weaknesses is a challenge.
However, if he talks about some frustration, enjoy it. Ask him to detail a little better. As a result, you will have data to direct the speech.
Question how he felt and how he tried to get around it. You need to find out a few more aspects of the problem. Go ahead!
Here is the time to understand how this customer’s decision-making will be. It’s decision time. Will he end up opting for what you sell or what the competitor is offering?
After all, it is very likely that he will be talking to another company, right? So is the person your seller is negotiating with the decision-maker?
Or at least have the power to influence her? Or is it just a person designated to seek a solution to the problem faced?
Your team needs to understand how the buying process of the company you trade is like. This helps to identify the stakeholders involved.
This way, you avoid wasting time. Furthermore, it is possible to communicate the message clearly to everyone who can make the decision in the potential customer’s company.
What is this customer’s timeline like? In other words, what is the urgency and the step-by-step for your solution to start running internally?
Are they looking to implement the solution in days, weeks, months, years?
If they plan to start on a much stretched date, you can “push” to start as soon as possible. So, trigger the urgency trigger.
Remind him of the competition and how it is now gaining customers who could have been his.
Remove any concerns or questions you have regarding your dealings with the customer. This is one of the open-ended questions aimed at understanding what can get in the way of your prospect’s “yes”.
It could be price, lack of 100% adherence to your solution, lack of understanding of some functionality. Ask and be assertive (and also honest) when answering.
It’s no use getting the sale if, later, you frustrate the customer and the churn comes.
Allow the potential customer to give their opinion on the next steps in the negotiation – and then give your own.
By asking him first you get information about what he thought of the meeting. Likewise, also confirm the level of interest and urgency he has.
And also how the internal decision-making process will take place. Knowing the context in which you will be, you will be able to define the action plan to win this person’s “yes”.
Never end a meeting without asking questions. As well as leaving with uncertainty (for both sides) is quite bad for several reasons.
After all, you want the potential customer to open up the game and communicate everything they are looking for and need.
At the same time, you know you can’t cover every important topic in one meeting.
Even if the prospect says that nothing comes to mind to question, remain available for any clarification.
Sometimes the person you are talking to may have a different perspective than others in the same company.
If you ask if there are any colleagues who are expressing doubt, you can directly engage them in a conversation.
This question here is especially useful for the follow-up time, when you haven’t gotten an answer from your prospect yet.
You can set up a new meeting with this person who is not yet convinced of your solution. Ask your point of contact at the company to make this “bridge”.
Also, if possible, ask for a “preview” on what the resistance points are.
Open questions and technology: one depends on the other
For your open sales questions to the customer to have a greater effect on your sales routine, one factor is preponderant:
- The digital transformation.
Through a CRM you have automatically registered all the prospect’s history with the company. And you can (indeed, should) jot down all the relevant answers he gives to your questions.
Take advantage and use all the features of your system to accelerate the closing of the sale:
- email templates, proposals and contracts;
- automatic actions to save time;
- integrations with tools to send good materials during the negotiation;
- sales funnel in the Kanab model, which allows you to intuitively view all information
- And much more!
In short, your open-ended questions will become valuable and persuasive answers. And with the help of a sales system, it will be possible to close more deals.
So, how can we help you?
Take the opportunity and read two articles that will help you boost your speech and your sales results.
The first talks about techniques on how to approach a customer for the first time.
The second one brings some valuable trading techniques for you to get more closes.