High Value Questions to Ask Buyers

BY Jessica Helinski
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Asking the right questions at the right time is critical to high-​performance selling.  Appropriately timed probing, especially knowing which high value questions to ask buyers, gives you access to valuable insights that can win the sale. They can also help you deliver excellent customer service once you’ve made the deal.

High Value Questions to Ask Buyers

Vice President of Sales at The Brooks Group, Lisa Rose recently penned an article that highlights a variety of high value questions to ask buyers that get to the heart of a prospect’s business. Even more importantly, she categorizes questions by timing. “Prospects will be more willing to answer probing questions when the questions are timed well within the conversation,” she explains.

Problem Questions

Early in the sales process, reps should use problem questions to uncover a prospect’s true needs and wants. There is no substitute for conducting proper discovery and listening to the client's answers. Below are some of Rose's suggested questions:

  • How would you describe the problem you’re trying to solve?
  • What about this situation keeps you up at night?
  • What challenges have you encountered in the past while trying to solve this problem?
  • How much is this problem costing you personally?
  • What is it costing the company?
  • Is there anything else about the situation that worries or frustrates you?
  • If there is a current supplier, what are your reasons for considering an alternative?

The answers to the high value questions to ask buyers can uncover the need your product or service can meet. Every buying situation is unique. To boost your chances of making a sale, you must understand which details are most frustrating to the buyer.

You should also understand motivations are they vary from one buyer to another. Some of your prospects may be seeking to cut costs and improve profitability on the surface. As you dig deeper, you may learn that your potential buyer is vying for a key promotion. They may believe their future career success will ride on how well things go with the solution you're trying to sell them. Knowing that, you'll be able to customize your pitch with details that can speak to the buyer's specific concerns.

Keep in mind that our research shows 43% of prospects have already talked with their current supplier about their existing problem. To unseat the existing supplier, you'll need to pay close attention to the issues the buyer raises and, in your proposal, show how you'll be a better provider.

Taking the answers to the problem questions into account, you can continue with a new set of questions.

Solution Questions

Solution questions aim to guide the customer in designing an appropriate solution to their problem, and to understand how your offerings fit into that solution,” Rose writes. “These questions are best saved until after the problem has been clearly established.” As you ask solution questions, remember that 60% of buyers are keenly interested in hearing about how you can apply your products and services to helping them achieve their goal or solve their problem.

Rose suggests the following examples as high value questions to ask buyers when you are probing for a solutions fit:

  • What would an ideal solution look like for you?
  • What does a realistic solution look like to you?
  • What are the must-​have criteria for a solution to work for you?
  • What is your timeline for developing a solution?
  • What are the qualities you need in a solution provider?
  • Would any of these additional products/​services/​criteria be helpful in your solution?

To find out how to proceed once you’ve decided on solutions to pitch to the buyer, check out Rose’s entire article. Her guide to effective probing can position you as a valuable ally to prospects and help you close deals. Engaging in effective discovery can increase your sales credibility.

Related Questions

  • What are high value questions? – When sales professionals meet with prospects, they’ll want to ask high value questions. What are high value questions? These are the questions designed to get answers that will move the deal forward.
  • What are the best questions to ask customers? – In every sales situation, sales professionals should be wondering, “What are the best questions to ask customers?” During discovery, it’s best to ask questions that will reveal what the customer is having trouble with.
  • What questions should I ask a potential buyer? – Potential buyers usually have a problem they want to solve. If you are wondering “What questions should I ask a potential buyer?” start by asking about their top business problem.
  • How do you ask insightful questions? – In your selling situation, your prospect will be impressed if your questions show that you’ve read up on the industry and can understand their competitive situation. How do you ask insightful questions? Pick one or two key industry challenges and ask prospects how they are dealing with them.
  • What are thoughtful questions? – Prospects want to know that you have their best interests in mind. What are thoughtful questions? They are the ones that show you know something about their industry, and that you’re curious about how they have tried to solve their problems.

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