10 Best Sales Questions


You only have one chance to nail an important call or face-to-face interview. Unlike emails, which you can agonize over and craft over the course of a day, phone calls and face-to-face interviews are live, and they put your powers of communication to the test. If you want a potential or existing client to view you as a trusted ally, you'll need to know how to listen. By taking your client's needs seriously and showing them that you're listening, your relationship will evolve beyond the simply transactional and become something more. As you navigate the dynamic and demanding environment of a call or interview, you'll want to make sure to ask all of the following questions to turn your customer into the center of attention.

1. "How did you hear about us?"

According to HubSpot, it's common to spend 10-20 hours on the phone with a prospective client before you close a sale. However, you won't want to make it through a single call without asking this simple question. Getting a customer to talk about the process that brought them to you can help you understand what their company is looking for, and it can also provide you with crucial data regarding the effectiveness of your various marketing efforts.

2. "Why haven't you hung up on me yet?"

If you're still on the phone with a potential client, there's a reason. We've all experienced the sting of defeat that sets in after a brutal hang up, but it's usually easy to understand why we've been rebuffed by a potential client. It's sometimes harder, however, to navigate the unstable footing along the path toward a successful call, and asking your client this seemingly awkward question can provide you with vital information that helps you decide which steps you should take to finalize the sale.

3. "What do you need to have and what is nice to have?"

Asking a client to prioritize their needs can help you determine how your product or service will fit into their business structure. Prompt your client to begin with those things that are necessary for their business to function, and then transition to more auxiliary needs. With this data at your disposal, you might be able to craft arguments for how your service can fulfill both your customer's needs and wants.

4. "What's the decision-making process like?"

It's always convenient when you get the decision-maker on the line in the early stages of your contact with a company. However, a company's decision-making process may be more complicated than it initially appears, and it's important to be familiar with each of the checkpoints you'll need to clear to make the sale. Even if they aren't decision-makers, you'll also need to know which players in your client's business have a stake in the sale, and it's also important to understand your client's timeline. If they'll be ready to make a decision tomorrow, it's time to push, but you'll want to take a smoother approach if decision time is still months away.

5. "Are you comparing us with any other companies?"

To defeat your enemy, you must know your enemy. According to HubSpot, it's best not to talk about your competitors on a sales call. However, you also need to be ready to explain why your product or service is superior to others if the situation calls for it. Learn everything you can about your competitors, and craft a message that clearly relays the superior value that your company provides.

6. "If you don't pick us, what's your backup plan?"

In many cases, a client's decision to turn you down is based on a lack of information. By asking this question, you can open the door to a conversation about how the features of your product would fulfill your client's needs better than a competitor.

7. "What's your budget?"

Some clients are looking for the ultimate solution, and others are working on a strict budget. In either case, this question can clear the way toward a discussion that elucidates the value of your product.

8. "When was the last time you bought a solution like ours?"

To seal the deal, you'll need to convince your client that your product isn't like those that have failed them in the past. At the same time, you'll need to associate your offering with products that have succesfully fulfilled their needs.

9. "If you buy our solution, what types of training and support will you need from us?"

By asking this question, you can assure your client that you'll be there to assist with the product implementation processs every step of the way. You'll also open the opportunity to present your product or service as a long-term solution.

10. "How are we doing?"

Give your client plenty of opportunities to inform you of ways that you could do better.