10 Great Open Ended Questions

Thoughtful man

Whether you’re new to sales or have been in the business for years, continuing to learn the art of asking open-ended questions will go a long way in improving your sales skills and results.

Before we dive in to some examples, first let me give my definition of an open-ended question: “Any question which requires your prospect or customer to “open up” and elaborate or provide you with detailed information.” Granted, you won’t find that in the dictionary, but that’s what it means to me and you; to get the prospect to open up and talk.

Conversely, a closed-ended question allows them to shut down and answer with a single word that gets you nowhere. The simple definition is an open-ended question can’t be answered with one word—it’s requires thought and therefore gives you that more detailed answer and information.

So with that in mind, here are 10 Great (according to me) Open-Ended Questions

1. How has the drop in oil prices (or any big event0 affected your business today versus a year ago?

2. Tell me about how you got started in this business?

3. Thinking of your buying process, what do you like and not like about it?

4. What would you change about the current process?

5. What are your company’s goals for this quarter (or year)?

6. I’m going to have my team work on a proposal, but based on what we’ve talked about, if you were to have to present it to your board of directors, what would you like to see in there?

7. You mentioned your current supplier has been inconsistent on delivery times, if I can correct that, what will that do for you?

8. Thinking about other departments in your company, who all would my team interact with on in servicing your account?

9. If the two of us decide it makes sense for us to work together, what do I need to provide you personally in order to make it a smooth transition?

And finally, perhaps the simplest but my favorite:

10. What do you do for fun?

This is a great question to have “in your back pocket, ready to use if the conversation drags or if you stumble and lose your place. It gives the prospect time to talk about allows you to learn a lot about them personally.

There you have my 10 Great Open Ended Questions, are there any you would add?