One of the best ways to get a prospect to become a customer who will keep buying from you is to ask questions. Lets take a look at some sales questions to ask customers to make the sales process more effective.
In sales, we have learnt that effective questions can create customers for life. My business results have greatly improved since I started employing the use of good sales questions to ask customers-to-be how I can serve them, rather than trying to force them to take what I have to offer as it is.
Many sales people who adopt this style in their selling have reported better relationship with their customers and a spike in their revenue.
Lets do a study of some sales questions to ask customers to make them buyers for life.
Before that, a quick warning.
- ONLY use these questions as they are when and only when they are appropriate for the situation.
- Make the questioning time conversational. Otherwise, some prospects will get irritated, bored or worse grow impatient and dismiss you.
- Make a list of the sales questions to ask customers before making the sales call.
1. May I ask you a few questions please
The customer must be asked for permission if you want to ask them a bunch of questions. You may not need this if you already know how to connect the answer to one question to another in a smooth conversational style. Someone who has worked as a journalist before will find that easy to pull. But the general rule is to take that permission. Don’t take chances.
Also try to allocate time to this. “May I ask you a few questions in 5 minutes please?” is cool because the customer gets to know upfront how many minutes they will spend with you.
2. What has been your experience buying …?
That is an interesting sales question to ask prospective customers. Fill in the gap depending on what field you operate in. Yours might be “what has been your experience buying real estate” if you work in the real estate industry. This question is powerful because the customer will tell you the bad and good. That will help you to know what to adopt and what to avoid.
3. What is your worst experience getting …?
This question is an extension of the one above. Here, the customer is expected to tell you about their bad experience in your industry. In that way, you are able to know how exactly you can replace their present sales person. This happens as you present what you have to offer as a superior alternative to what they already experience.
4. What is your best experience dealing with …?
Asking them their best experience dealing with their present or past supplier will help you to know what they enjoy most while buying. For some people, it might just be punctuality. But always note that if they took cognizance of it and told you about it, then they find it important. You should too. This will help you to know what they will be looking forward to while buying from you in future.
5. What are your expectations when it comes to buying …?
Some of these questions look like they are the same right? Don’t worry. Research has shown that customers give different answers to the questions when they are asked. We have been dealing with experience. But now, we are dealing with expectations. And a person’s best experience in the past is not necessarily their expectations in the future. See? This question helps you to know exactly what the person wants when they patronize you.
[tweetthis remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]A person’s best experience in the past is not necessarily their expectations in the future.[/tweetthis]
6. What do you consider the most important factor when you are getting …?
This question unveils what they consider as the “cake icing” in the fulfillment of their order. For some people, it is seamless home delivery. For others, it is the post-installation cleaning. Yet, for others, it is the routine servicing that they consider as the most important factor when they are buying certain things. Find out what it is for your prospect.
7. How would you describe the service you are getting from your present supplier?
This question is vital. Even if the prospective customer likes their present supplier so much that they will not even want to change them, their answer is important in that it will help you to know what the competition is doing right. Then imagine you can out-perform them and the customer “migrates” their business to you.
8. If you could, what would you change about the arrangement with your present supplier?
Human wants are insatiable. Consequently, the bigger an organization gets the less in touch they are with their customers. As a result, the organizational “human contact” per customer gets less frequent. If you work for a firm that is perceived to be better in maintaining one on one contact with customers, the answer to this question will convert the prospective customer to a buying customer you can keep for as long as you stay in touch.
9. If you could, what upgrade would you make to the current solution you are getting?
A customer can like a particular solution today and prefer another tomorrow because of a change in lifestyle. Knowing what upgrade they need to enjoy the solution better will greatly increase your chances of getting their business.
10. If you were to decide to buy from me now, what criteria would you be using to check me out?
First of all, this question is powerful because it will make them to actually think about buying from you. Thinking about it can make it happen because thoughts have power! Have you ever heard the statement “as a man thinketh, so is he”???
Secondly, their answer to this question will help you to tweak what you have to offer to suit their expectations of you. Now, that is a very good thing.
11. What has been your most memorable buying decision, ever?
This is also a good question. You don’t have to use it if the person has already somehow given you the answer while answering some of the questions above. And you don’t need to ask this as a general question. The question can be tweaked as “what has been your most memorable buying decision while getting a car?”
12. What kind of person or company will you absolutely avoid buying from?
I once asked someone this question. She said she does not like people who lie about their product/service in order to deceive her into buying. Does that look familiar? There is a thin line between exaggerating and lying, right? It is clear that if you make it look a little too good than it actually is, this customer will see it as deceit. Even though this should be a general rule, be absolutely honest with a prospect who gives this answer. Don’t be the kind of person the customer avoids buying from.
13. What kind of person or company will you absolutely continue buying from?
This question is the reverse of the previous one. It is also important to ask it, despite asking the first. Even if the customer does not buy from you, ensure you note whatever answers you get from here. The action these answers can inspire you to take are so invaluable.
14. What extra benefit(s) do you wish your present supplier/service provider brought into the arrangement at no cost?
If you have non-core services to add to the main service/product you want to sell to the customer, this question can help put the customer in the best frame of mind to hear about them. Imagine they respond to this question by mentioning those things you can add to the arrangement at no cost to you. That might just be a win for you!
15. If price is not an issue, which product/service would you rather be using?
This question helps you to guage the prospect’s definition of quality when cost is not a problem. That information can be used to your advantage. You can either use it to improve on your offering or use it to show the prospect that despite charging more than the competition, yours is still less expensive considering the features versus those of the competition. Costing each feature against those of the competition can change the prospect’s mind. So much to be said here but maybe we should create a whole post on it.
The “why question” can actually be used after getting a response to any of the questions above and after this. It will encourage the prospect to give more details – and details are good! You do not have to use it every time the customer answers a question. But it is effective when used at those times it is absolutely necessary. It is one of the best sales questions to ask customers.
17. Would you like to ask me any question?
This question works magic. The customer-to-be has been answering a lot of questions and at this point has many things in perspective. If their answer to this question is a yes, then they will ask questions that will enable you to gain insight into their mind and expectations more.
18. If you could ask me only 3 questions about this, what would they be?
This is same as above. Difference is that this particular one stretches and encourages the customer to ask more questions than they would have asked. There is no better way to carry out what I call a reverse needs assessment.
19. What question should I be asking that I have not asked?
The customer will see this question as an invitation to tell you how you or your business can care for them better. Its a question you should be asking with some feeling. It is a question that has this hidden message – “I care about you and I don’t want to leave anything out.”
20. What is the impact of the biggest disappointment you have suffered from patronizing your present supplier?
If they are tired of their present vendor, this question will bring their dissatisfaction to the surface as soon as they open their mouths. There are customers who have been dissatisfied for long (in their subconscious mind) without really knowing. Or if they know, without taking action. This is one of the top sales questions to ask customers. It helps to bring dissatisfaction to the conscious mind of the customer while also helping them to quantify the impact.
21. What is the biggest problem you’d like to solve with this solution?
A proper understanding of the customer’s problem/need will help you to give them the kind of offer they will likely accept. All things being equal, it is the person who understand’s the customer’s problem(s) most that gets the customer to buy. Asking this question will also help the customer to come to terms with their biggest problem.
[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true” remove_hidden_urls=”true”]All things being equal, it is the person who understands d customer’s problem(s) most that gets the customer to buy.[/tweetthis]
22. What are the consequences of not solving this and other problems?
This question will make the customer to come to terms with the pain they will have to endure if they do not solve the problem. Many sales people have used this question over the years and have reported that it works wonders. Making the customer to come to terms with what they will “suffer” if they do not get you to solve the problem right away will drive away any procrastination tendencies they may have.
23. What will a solution to these problems mean to you and/or your business?
This is one of the most effective sales questions to ask customers because it helps the customer to enjoy relief in advance. The question will help them to get a picture of themselves without the problem. Many times, the inhibitions people have exist only in their minds. If you can ask a question like this and make the customer-to-be to answer truthfully, you will be almost half-way closer to making a sale.
Quick points on Sales Questions to Ask Customers
- Effective questions endears you to the customer.
- Effective questions will make the customer to “open up” to you.
- It will also make the customer to unknowingly “show” or teach you how to get the sale.
- You do NOT have to use ALL these questions. Pick the most appropriate ones.
This sales questions to ask customers article is not all there is to know about becoming a better sales person. Would you like to sign-up for my Sales Coaching Programme? I will personally show you or your organization how to take your sales to another level. Contact me directly or send my email address (coaching[@]kingsleyaigbona.com) to your HR Department.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to leave them below. I will respond as fast as I can.
Sign up for my newsletter so you can be one of those who get alerts when posts like this go live on this website