Asking Opening Questions


One of the most important skills a sales professional can master is that of asking good questions. In the process of discovering your prospect’s needs and wants a true professional takes on the role of a detective–seeking to uncover the facts. And, like all good detectives, the way to do that is through questioning.

However, before one can become good at questions you must know what questions or at least what kinds of questions to ask–and know there are no unimportant questions. Every one you ask should have a purpose of either gathering needed information or leading you to the next step in the process where you will gather information.

In the sales process (unlike an actual detective), you aren’t going to grill the prospect and sit them down with a bright light in their eyes.  So, today we’re going to talk about Opening Questions. Opening Questions are questions designed to get them to open up, relax and allow you to get to know them and begin to find their wants and needs.  They really give you an idea of your starting point. An example of a Opening Question would be: “Wow, you’ve built this business up and doubled the size in just five years, what do you attribute that to?” Or maybe, “You’ve really grown up in this organization, what kind of changes have you seen over the years?”

Both of these will give you insight into where the prospect feels they are NOW.  And you must know where you are now before you can help them get to where they want to be.

Remember, an Opening Question is a softball–one that lets them talk about their business and where they are. Make a list of some good Opening Questions and have them ready for your next prospect. You’ll be amazed at what you find out.