The art of crafting effective sales questions

In This Article

Most salespeople agree that sales is largely about building strong relationships. Not only do questions help salespeople identify a client’s needs, it helps them build rapport. Building a bond with clients helps promote future business and referrals. Additionally, understanding a client’s needs helps salespeople recommend the product or service that best fits the client. Strong rapport and a solution that meets a need are a formula for success. However, basic questions likely don’t fit the bill. Salespeople should craft effective questions that create an opportunity to share.

In his book The Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness, Jeffrey Gitomer highlights the importance of asking good questions. In the book, Gitomer encourages salespeople to develop “power questions”. Power questions are “smart” questions that are new and interesting to the client. Not only do they make clients consider new information, but they also prompt them to respond in terms of their own interest. Activating a client to respond in this way gives salespeople insights into the client leading to a more successful sale process.

Why Questions Work

You’ve likely heard that salespeople should talk less than half of the time in a successful sales conversation. In order to achieve this, it means most of the time is spent listening. Indeed, the more salespeople ask quality sales questions, the more opportunity there is to listen. Listening can be hard work. Often people begin thinking about what they’re going to say next in the conversation while the other person it talking.

Additionally, people really enjoy talking about themselves. This means that asking clients questions that prompt them to talk about themselves increases their dopamine levels, which make them feel happier and more likely to buy. Furthermore, when salespeople have several quality questions at their disposal, it makes listening easier. In fact, a strategic conversation flow removes the need to focus on what to say next. Rather than forming the next response, practiced salespeople simply move to the next question.

Sales Questions that Work

In Gitomer’s book, he encourages salespeople to build questions that collect answers to several questions at once. He gives the example of asking a group of cable TV salespeople to develop a question that included both criteria to qualify the customer as a good fit and sell as many premium channels as possible. The winning question?

“If you owned your own cable channel, what would be on it?”

This question takes care of two things the salesperson wants to know. First, is the person a good fit for cable TV? By listing what would be included on their very own channel, they explain the type of TV they enjoy. Additionally, this gives salespeople a look into the interests of the person, which can help identify premium channels that might be a good fit.

Along with the important tip of focusing on open-ended questions, the book offers some suggestions on how to kick off a power question.

  • What do you look for…
  • How have you successfully used…
  • How do you determine…
  • Why is that the deciding factor…
  • What does your competitor do about…
  • What do your customers think about…

He recommends using these as a jumping off point. The opening words can help salespeople draft dozens of power questions that could help enhance conversations with prospective clients and business partners. Further, note clients’ reactions to questions to identify which questions work the best.

Get the Behind-the-Scenes Scoop

Ultimately, strong sales questions drive at uncovering the needs of clients. Listening to their responses certainly gives insight into what makes a client tick. However, CardTapp members have an additional way to uncover needs and craft timely and pertinent questions. With TappTracker, CardTapp gives members a leg up with engagement insights that can help identify client interests and needs.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Create your account

Try Cardtapp for free. No credit card required.