I talk so much about the role questions play in the selling process and the need for every salesperson to have at least 5 questions they can feel comfortable using.

I think it’s appropriate to share what I believe are 5 great questions:

What are the outcomes you’re expecting?

I like asking this question very early in the conversation.  The sooner we can really understand the problem the customer is trying to solve, the sooner we can help them.

What are your expectations?

This is another way of asking the first question, but I’ve found many times it takes multiple questions to truly understand what the customer wants.

How have you made decisions like this in the past?

Nothing can cause more frustration than to find out near the end of the selling process that the person you’re talking to is not the decision maker.  Problem is you can’t typically come out and ask them if they’re the decision maker, for fear of offending them.

Asking how they have made decisions in the past is a great question. It will help the customer feel comfortable sharing with you information about who else might be involved.

When do you expect to make a decision?

If the customer isn’t going to make a decision for several months, knowing this now can save everyone a huge amount of time. Knowing this early in the selling process is very helpful, should the need come to negotiate with the customer.

Which option do you like and why?

This can be framed as a closing question, but it works well anytime during the presentation to help move the customer along in the process. The key part of the question is the “why.”

There they are — 5 great questions most salespeople can use almost anytime.

Before you decide to use them, make sure they fit your personality, industry and selling process.   This means you may have to modify them a little. That’s great, because when you do, you will be far more comfortable using them.

Copyright 2014, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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