Asking questions is a vital part of the sales process. They help to get prospects to open up, enabling you to learn more about them and their needs.

The thing is, you need to be asking the right types of questions. In sales, open-ended questions are particularly effective. They’re conversational, encouraging prospects to share more detail. They’re also subjective, which helps you to get a better idea of how your prospects feel. Closed-ended questions, on the other hand, tend to be yes or no questions. Alternatively, they might request specific information that requires little to no elaboration. 

With open-ended questions, especially early in the sales process, you can learn a lot about your prospect’s needs. You can also discover just how your products or services can help them to meet their goals. Here, we’ll provide you with a list of engaging sales questions to get your prospects talking. 

Open-Ended Questions for Sales

Asking open-ended sales engagement questions enables you to become more familiar with a prospect’s pain points. Using the information they provide, you can then formulate an effective solution that addresses those issues. 

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that it’s not enough to just ask the questions — listening to the prospect is critical. Open-ended questions encourage prospects to take the lead, giving them the time to provide thoughtful responses without interruption. This can help to ensure a more successful conversation.

Now, here are 15 open-ended questions to ask your prospects:

1. What would make this call worthwhile for you?

A great way to begin is to focus on the prospect’s thoughts and opinions. If they have specific topics they want to discuss, be sure to address them. This allows you to stay focused on their goals throughout the conversation.  

2. What are your typical day-to-day activities?

Rather than asking directly about their pain points, have them walk you through their role. You can use the information to determine how your solution fits in. 

3. What are some of the biggest challenges you face with your current process?

Asking this question can help you get a better understanding of the prospect’s pain points. To focus on a specific point, follow up with, “You mentioned that you’re frustrated with X. Can you please elaborate?”

4. What do you think some of the factors are that might be keeping your process from being as successful as you want?

The answer to this question lets you know what roadblocks the prospect faces. If they think their processes are running well, ask them if there’s something they think can improve their processes more. 

5. What’s working well with your current process?

While there may be some things that frustrate the prospect about their process, there may also be things they like. You can use this information to demonstrate how your product or service enhances those aspects.

6. We’ve heard from other clients that they’re dealing with issues like X, Y, and Z. How are these issues affecting your business?

This question shows the prospect that you understand some of the common issues that plague their industry. It also helps to establish credibility, which builds trust. 

7. What challenges have you faced with previous solutions you’ve tried?

Your prospect may have tried other solutions in the past that haven’t worked. Encourage them to elaborate on the problem they’re facing and then follow up with statements about your solution. 

8. What’s worked well with past solutions?

There may have also been things the prospect liked about past solutions. You can use the information to show how your product or service aligns with their responses.  

9. What concerns do you have regarding making changes?

With this question, you encourage the prospect to lay it all out there. Again, it provides more insight into how the prospect is feeling. You can then use the information to help reassure them and offer solutions.  

10. How might change disrupt how you do things already?

Asking this question can help to build trust. The prospect may have reservations about adopting a new solution. You can also use the information to show the benefits of your product or service in addition to addressing their pain points. 

11. How are you evaluating your potential options?

This question provides insight into your competition. Knowing who your competition is helps you to narrow your focus and show what sets your solution (and your company) apart from the rest.  

12. How does your decision-making process work?

The buying process works differently from one company to the next. Getting an understanding of how the prospect’s decision-making process works is crucial for directing future conversations. 

13. What kinds of content can I send to you to help make things easier?

While your prospect controls the conversation, you’ve likely provided them with a lot of information. Sending content equips them with key points in an easy-to-read format that they can share internally with other decision-makers. 

14. What things might get in the way of moving forward?

This question helps you understand both long-term and short-term hurdles to closing the sale. For instance, you may be speaking with someone who isn’t authorized to make such a purchase, so your short-term hurdle is getting to speak with someone who is. 

15. What else can I do for you to help finalize your decision?

With this question, you open up the floor for negotiation. Understanding what the prospect needs helps you to make use of your internal resources to close the deal. 

Do Closed-Ended Questions Have a Place?

While open-ended questions encourage more detail, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ask closed-ended questions. These types of questions help you to learn clear-cut facts. They invite specific answers that can help you to diagnose issues and build a solution. 

One important thing to keep in mind with closed-ended questions is that you need to exercise caution. You can ask them, but avoid asking too many. You want your prospects to open up and provide as much detail as possible. 

Encourage Your Prospects to Open Up

Asking open-ended questions helps you to learn more about your prospects, gaining insight that can help you to tailor your solutions to meet their needs. Sharetivity can also help you understand more about your prospects, providing you with the sales engagement tools you need to personalize experiences for each one. For more information, contact us today.