Cheerful man in office answering the phone.jpegIn order to gather the information you need to close a deal, it is essential to ask your prospective buyer the right questions at the right times. Because of this, it is important to focus on asking open-ended questions instead of close-ended questions. An open-ended question encourages a detailed, meaningful answer and will, therefore, reflect your prospect’s knowledge, opinions, and feelings. A close-ended question elicits a one-word answer, which often equates to a “no” in the sales world.

Let’s explore five open-ended questions that will help you gather enough information to close a deal and how and when to use them.

What options are you considering?

This is a great question to ask when you offer multiple product options or pricing levels. It helps your prospect envision owning your product. This question also prevents your potential client from shutting you down. If you don’t offer product options, you can add payment or delivery options. Ask your prospect what options they are considering instead of asking them if they would like to buy your product. This will allow you to keep your prospect engaged and steer clear of being shut down.

What are your thoughts?

Ask this question throughout your sales presentation and your potential client will think about buying from you. Each time you review a product feature that meets a primary need, ask your client what he thinks about it. This strategy will encourage your prospect to continually think positively. Additionally, this question allows you to uncover objections, which you will then address before asking for the order.

What have you heard about this product?

Preconceived notions about your product are tough to overcome, especially if you’re not aware of them. Ask this question and you will unveil any misconceptions about what you’re offering. If your prospect’s answer reveals negativity, simply tailor your presentation and resolve these misconceptions.

Why do you need this feature?

This is an excellent question to ask to prevent future misunderstanding. Your client isn’t going to buy your product unless it has most, if not all, of the features he needs. When your prospect uses a missing feature as an objection to placing an order, ask why he needs the feature. You might be able to point to another feature that meets his need. For example, consider a technology sales person who believes that he’s close to receiving an order for 150 new laptop computers when his prospect expresses a concern because docking stations are not included. After asking why he needs docking stations, the sales person learns his prospect’s employees work from home and their computers must always remain charged. The sales person can then point out that the laptops include external wall chargers, demonstrating a convenient way to meet the prospect’s need.

What else do you need to know about this product?

This is a good question to ask as you approach the end of your sales presentation. It ensures that you have addressed your prospect’s needs and concerns. Using this question instead of a cliché, such as “tell me what I can do to get you to buy right now,” helps you avoid having to use high-pressure sales tactics that will kill the deal.

Ask open-ended questions throughout your sales presentation and you will gain the information you need to demonstrate to your clients why they need your product. Then you close the deal.


Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.