Questions to Ask a Customer in Sales to be Successful

BY Jessica Helinski
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Questions will get you answers. The right questions to ask a customer in sales will make you successful. “A lot of sellers do too much talking and presenting, then when they do ask the buyer questions, it’s the same old ‘What keeps you up at night?’ clichés,” Mike Schultz for InsideSales​.com. It’s important that the questions you ask are not just conversation fillers. Your questions need to uncover important information that will make you more knowledgeable about the prospect. The right questions can also separate you from the other sellers out there who are your competition. It's also pretty likely that your competitors are all are asking the same old stuff. You need to be different in order to stand out and achieve your goals. 

There are many types of questions you can ask a prospective client. And each of your questions is valuable for a different reason. Schultz shares a few, educating readers on why they are important and how to use them effectively.

Questions to Ask a Customer in Sales 

Open-​Ended Questions

One of the most important types of questions to ask a customer in sales are open-​ended questions. Why is that? It's because these types of questions help get the buyer talking. By definition, these questions are left open, requiring a more detailed and original response instead of a simple "yes" or "no." Open-​ended questions are the most common questions used in sales conversations, but also, sometimes the ONLY questions that are asked. “Asking questions that are open-​ended is a great way to get vital information,” Schultz writes. “The problem is, too many sellers rely on these questions alone while there are other kinds of questions that can be just as valuable.” You should ask open-​ended questions to break the ice and get the conversation started. Then, use other types of questions to keep the momentum of the conversation going. 

Closed Questions

Closed questions, just like you might have guessed, are questions that simply elicit a simple yes or no response from prospective customers. Usually in sales, reps are told that these are not questions to ask a customer in sales. However, Schultz believes that these questions can actually play a role in effective sales conversations. “Closed-​ended questions are particularly helpful for diagnosis and ruling things out (or in),” he points out. “You can learn a great deal of information by asking a series of closed-​ended questions.” A great thing about these questions is that they can easily flow into an open-​ended question simply by following the buyer’s response with something like, “How so?” 

These are just two of the types of questions to ask a customer in sales recommended by Schultz. You can read about other question types, such as category questions, in his entire article on InsideSales​.com. His suggestions for questions to ask a customer in sales can open your conversations to new areas of knowledge. Exploring these new areas will help you to truly get to know the buyer, their business and all the ways you can provide value.