What Questions Every Salesperson Should Be Asking to Close More Deals

Purposeful sales questions typically revolve around understanding customer needs, engaging effectively in sales conversations, and strategizing how to close deals. Here are examples of key questions to use based on the steps in the Topaz Sales Consulting Buyer Facilitator process.

Bonding and Rapport

The purpose of bonding and rapport building is to establish a connection with your prospect or client by finding things to talk about that they are interested in and that you may have in common. Be interested, not interesting. Use open-ended questions (remember the 5 W’s? Who, What, Where, When, Why) to make conversation about:

  • Common interests
  • Background
  • Looking around the office or video background
  • Geography – where they live, where they’re from

Building rapport involves connecting with your prospect by discussing shared interests and backgrounds using open-ended questions.

Ground Rules

Ground rules are an upfront agreement on the purpose of the conversation and how you will communicate with one another. Always end your ground rules with one of these questions: “How does that sound?” or “Does that work for you?”

Establishing ground rules ensures clarity and mutual understanding, setting the stage for a productive discussion.

Uncovering Pain

Pain questions are used to disrupt our biggest competitor, the status quo (no change). Here is a list of pain questions to help uncover your prospect or client’s pain points.

  • What are your biggest challenges today?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What projects do you have going on?
  • How long has it been a problem?
  • What have you done to solve it?
  • How did that work for you?
  • What else have you tried?
  • Are you ready to throw in the towel?
  • What happens if you do nothing?

Pain questions disrupt the status quo and reveal your prospect’s challenges, effectively helping you address their needs.

A Topaz Tale: The Sales Call That Changed Everything

Elena, a seasoned salesperson at Topaz Sales Consulting, was meeting with Alex, the CEO of a mid-sized tech firm struggling with declining sales. Alex was wary of change, having tried several solutions with little success. Elena was determined to uncover Alex’s pain points and help him see the value in a new approach.

The Questions and Answers

Elena: “How did that work for you?” Alex: “Not as well as we’d hoped. We invested in a new CRM system last year, but it hasn’t significantly improved our sales numbers. The team still struggles with follow-ups and closing deals.”

Elena: “What else have you tried?” Alex: “We’ve brought in several consultants over the past few years. They all promised big results, but after the initial excitement, things returned to how they were. We also tried revamping our marketing strategy, but it didn’t align well with our sales processes.”

Elena: “Are you ready to throw in the towel?” Alex: “Honestly, it feels like we’re close. Morale is low, and we’re seeing more turnover in our sales team. Investing so much time and money without seeing a return is frustrating. But giving up isn’t an option—we must find a solution.”

Elena: “What happens if you do nothing?” Alex: “If we do nothing, I’m afraid we’ll continue this downward spiral. We’ll lose more top talent, and our competitors will keep taking market share. Eventually, it could mean the end of the business as we know it.”

The Turnaround

Elena listened intently to Alex’s responses, understanding the depth of his frustration and the critical need for a solution. She began to outline how Topaz Sales Consulting’s tailored sales training and sustainable processes could disrupt the status quo and transform Alex’s team.

Elena: “I hear your frustrations, Alex. It sounds like you’ve tried several approaches without finding the right fit. At Topaz, we focus on creating a transformative belief system around the role of the buyer and the salesperson. Our training is designed to engage your team in a way that improves their skills and boosts their confidence and motivation. Let’s work together to turn things around and get your sales team back on track.”

Alex agreed to give Elena’s approach a chance. With a fresh perspective and personalized training, his sales team started to see improvements within weeks. The tailored sales process uncovered their true potential, and soon, the tech firm was back on a path to growth, leaving the status quo far behind.

Client Investment

Learn how much a prospect is willing to invest to make their pain go away. A series of questions you can ask:

  • Do you have a budget for this?
  • If so, what is your budget?
  • What do you expect to get for that budget?

Determine a prospect’s investment by asking about their budget and expectations, ensuring alignment, and effectively addressing their pain points.

Decision Criteria

Learn all of the other qualifying information before providing a proposal. The goal is to eliminate surprises that might occur after sending a proposal. Questions may include:

  • What else is important to you other than budget?
  • When are you hoping to make a decision?

Gather decision criteria before proposing to avoid surprises. Always ask about priorities and decision timelines to ensure a smooth process.

Your Solution

Now is the time to present your proposal. You have uncovered pain, learned about budget, and eliminated any surprises. 

After presenting your proposal, your final question will be, “Is there any reason you wouldn’t move forward with our company?”

PRO TIP: Your proposal should only cover the problems you uncovered in your sales process.

Productive selling hinges on asking the right questions. These questions are designed to facilitate a deeper understanding of the customer’s needs, challenges, and decision-making processes, which are crucial for sales success.

By equipping yourself with questions to ask for each stage of the conversation, you will gain the information needed to tailor your proposal to address the specific challenges you uncovered. Finally, ending with a direct question about moving forward clarifies any remaining objections and sets the stage for a successful partnership. This approach ensures that your sales process is as effective as possible, minimizing surprises and maximizing results.

Topaz is changing the way the world perceives, values, hires, and trains salespeople.

We transform not only how people sell, hire, and manage salespeople, but also how they build relationships with others.  Many of our clients tell us how they use the skills they have learned through our training and coaching to improve how they communicate with their family and friends, and the positive impact it has had on all their relationships.

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