When it comes to sales, we all know we should be asking questions of our prospects.
In this video, I’m going to show you 17 super quick sales questions to close more deals. Check it out:
1. Tell me more.
I love the simplicity of this sales question. In fact, it’s not even technically a question. (You’ll find that several of the sales questions on this list don’t end in question marks. Even so, they behave like questions and prompt the prospect to go deeper.) The goal here is to think like a doctor in order to get the prospect to identify the core issue holding them back. When the prospect tells you something that seems potentially important—or unclear—rather than just agreeing with them, say, “Huh, tell me more about that.” Now you’re going to get them to really dig in.
2. Why is that?
This simple sales question prompts the prospect to go even deeper. As a salesperson, you want to seek to understand your prospect better than their spouse does. The more you can understand them, the more they’re going to think you’re the solution to their problem. A question like, “Why is that?” allows you to draw them out and get them thinking about potential solutions to their concerns.
3. Unpack that.
I encourage you to use this quick sales question when you want a prospect to dig into a particular topic. If your prospect says something like, “Oh yeah, things have been really crazy this year with the economy,” then reply, “Unpack that for me.” Get them to explain what exactly was so crazy about this particular year with regard to the economy. Is it that it’s crazy good, or crazy bad, or crazy somewhere in between? You want to understand precisely what they’re trying to say, and this sales question helps get you there.
When you ask “why” with the right tonality, you can get prospects to really think through what’s actually going on in their world. It shows expertise to ask a question like “why” at the right time. Salespeople often mistakenly think that asking “why” makes it seem like they don’t understand something they should already get. But that’s exactly why you need to ask it—you don’t understand their exact situation yet. Prospects are like snowflakes, right? Every single situation is a little bit different, and we want them to identify why.
This is one of those sales questions that can totally transform based on the tonality of your voice. However you want to say it, asking “really?” is a powerful way to prompt the prospect to explain what’s really going on and get them to keep talking.
6. What makes you say that?
This is a beautiful sales question for a lot of different scenarios. Whenever a prospect asks you a question or says something that’s unclear, reply with, “Well, what makes you say that?” Now you’re getting them to really explain what’s going on in their head. There are always two layers of consciousness, right? There’s what they actually say, and then there’s the thinking that caused them to say it. This is a powerful distinction.
7. Why do you think that is?
This sales question gets right to the point of understanding exactly what the prospect is thinking. Remember, what you think is not important. It’s all about what they think.
8. What have you done to fix that?
This is one of those sales questions that initiates a “shifting-gears moment” in the sales conversation. This is the point in the conversation where you want them to start explaining whether they’ve tried to address their challenge before now, and how they went about it. If they haven’t done anything, that’s going to tell you something about whether it’s really a priority for them. And if they’ve tried 30 different things, and none of it’s worked, you know you’ve got a prospect who’s pretty committed to trying to fix the problem. This sales question will give you insight into all of this so you can really create value around your potential solution.
9. How does this affect you?
I love this sales question because it moves things from academic to personal. This is where the conversation goes from theoretical to meaningful—because every prospect is personally affected by whatever challenge they bring up to you. (And by the way, if they’re not personally affected by it, it’s probably not a priority for them to fix.) This question enables you to gauge just how important finding a solution is to your prospect. You don’t have to find out the most personal details of their life, but you do want to understand how the issue is affecting them personally.
10. What have you done to solve this?
This is basically just a spin on the earlier sales question, “What have you done to fix that?” but the simplicity of this question makes it powerful and worth keeping in your arsenal. Get your prospect to tell you where they are in the process of finding a solution.
11. What’s your top priority?
This sales question forces the prospect to decide what their top priority is. It doesn’t just compel them to think through their various top priorities, but forces them to choose just one thing to focus on first. You’re not going to use this sales question every single time you speak with a prospect, but it’s perfect for when a prospect seems a little unclear on what their key challenge is or what they’re looking to accomplish. Asking sales questions like this will help them to really clarify what their top priority is, while helping you come across as an expert consultant whose aim is to help them determine the one thing they want to fix most.
12. Do you have your calendar on you?
This is one of my favorite sales questions. I use this all the time with prospects, particularly as it pertains to scheduling next steps. One of the beautiful things about this question is that in today’s world, every prospect has their calendar on them in the form of their phone or computer. So this question simply prompts them to answer “yes,” and then you can use that momentum to schedule your next step together. It’s critical that you always have that next step scheduled with a calendar invite. Make sure it’s a time and date that’s going to work for both of you.
13. Does this all make sense so far?
When you’re at a point in the sales conversation where you’re doing more presenting, it’s important that it doesn’t turn into one long monologue. Sales questions like this enable you to break up your presentation while soliciting feedback and participation from the prospect, engaging them in a real dialogue and effectively checking their temperature. When you ask, “Does this all make sense so far?” they might say “yes,” in which case you know you’re on a good trajectory. Or they might say “no,” which will give you the critical feedback you need to course-correct and figure out what’s getting lost in translation. Either way, you’re making it a two-way conversation that increases the odds of a good sales outcome.
14. Do you see what I mean by that?
This is just a slightly different way of asking “Does this all make sense so far?” I call these types of sales questions feedback loops in my Sales Insights Method of selling. Feedback loops are just what they sound like: They prompt feedback from prospects and loop the conversation back and forth between the two of you, which is really valuable. The more you get your prospects talking during your presentations, the more effective you’ll be at communicating with them—and the more likely you are to actually close those deals.
15. How do you typically make decisions like this?
This is one of those sales questions that brings so much insight, you’d be crazy not to ask it. Instead of asking outright, “Are you the decision maker?” or “What’s your decision-making process?” you can ask “How do you typically make decisions like this?” for a nicer, gentler way of understanding how decisions are made. You’re going to understand now more about who’s involved, how they typically do it. This powerful, simple decision question will also help the prospect clarify what their own decision-making process is going to be.
16. What’s a realistic timeframe for this?
This sales question combines decision-making with priority to really help you understand the prospect’s timeframe for solving their challenge. It may be faster than you expected, or it may be slower than you expected—or it may be just in alignment with what you were thinking. By finding out their timeframe, you can avoid presenting an option that’s not going to be to their liking, and instead focus on useful solutions that fall squarely within their stated timeframe. What could be better than that?
17. What would you like to do next?
In my opinion, this is one of the best closing questions in the entire world. If you’ve done your job well up until you ask this question, then you’ve already taken the prospect through a strategic process of asking the right questions and demonstrating real insight to prove that you can solve their challenge. As a result, there’s not going to be as much pushback as you might normally get. So by just saying something like, “Well, what would you like to do next?” you give the prospect the opportunity to basically lay out the next steps. This takes all of the pressure out of the sale, and allows them to feel like they’re in control. But in reality, you’re the one who’s put the train on the tracks and kept it moving forward throughout the sales conversation.
So there you have it. Now you know 17 super-quick sales questions to close more deals. Which of these little questions will help you make a big impact on your selling approach? Be sure to share below in the comment section to get involved in the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.