Myth: “Why do we even need sales questions? If they need my solutions, they’ll buy.”
This would be true if you’re the only business around that has what buyerss need, but that’s likely not the case. Especially with tight markets and saturated competitive landscapes like the residential home service industry.
In reality, it’s the job of the customer to be a tough nuts to crack. Salespeopl eall around the world have made the job of selling far more difficult than it needs to be due to selfish greed and plain old ignorance.
Buyers need far less than we assume, and when we crack the code on their motivations and underlying felt needs, life becomes infinitely easier. When you pinpoint what it is exactly they’re looking for, closing a sale becomes a natural progression of the sale.
This is where asking the right sales questions matters.
Their needs stem from their underlying felt needs, including their money, energy, and time. Their needs are motivated by their pain and pleasure points. It’s their layers of personal and psychological factors that block their true priorities from plain sight.
The best sales questions will enable you to peek right into their hearts and sell from their perspective. This increases your probability of making sales, closing more deals, and more importantly, building a lasting relationship with your customers.
The only question that remains is: what are the best sales questions to ask customers?
You’re in for a treat. Here, we’ll discuss the questions to ask a customer to determine their needs and ultimately, present them with viable solutions.
3 Best Questions To Ask Your Prospects
Most business owners know all the right questions to ask their prospects. However, it’s still essential know the questions to ask potential customers before starting a business, so you can pass this along to your salespeople. Otherwise, you risk having your sales team (including techs) not doing the things you did to become successful, stalling your growth.
Here’s the thing: sales shouldn’t be anchored on luck, instead it should be founded on skills and proven science. Otherwise, you won’t maximize the number of prospects you can convert to buying customers.
The three most essential sales questions are not meant to be difficult. All you need to do is gather enough intelligence to know your prospect’s needs.
Here are the three best sales questions to ask clients right away:
What are we trying to accomplish?
Those who use the right open-ended sales questions set the stage for success. Balance out “yes” and “no” questions with open-ended questions to instigate conversation and buy in. You want to avoid dead air early on and show empathetic intentions.
Every buying journey is relatively unique and prompted by positive and negative motivations. Selling questions like, “What are we trying to accomplish?” uncovers the full story.
For example, imagine a client in need of a heat pump. Most salespeople would probably start by discussing product features and benefits they ASSUME the prospect wants.
Don’t assume their needs. Discover them by taking time to ask questions that help you understand what’s motivating the demand.
You might find that the client’s primary motivation is to save on energy costs. In that case, you could focus your sales pitch on the money-saving advantages and most efficient type of heating systems.
Instead of an affordable ductless mini-split, you may be able to naturally upsell them to a traditional High-Efficiency gas furnace.
Are you looking to do something different?
Customer needs analysis questions are meant to understand where the buyers mindset is. While some people are looking to improve their current situation, others are only looking to get back to where they were.
Before the sales call commences, your prospect is fighting a battle in their perceptual reality. They have imagined what a successful outcome looks like, and you want as clear a picture of that reality as possible.
“You cannot change a person’s behaviors until you change their beliefs.” – Frances Frei
If you hope to move a person from where they are in their mind to where you need them to be, you have to replace their imagined vision of what is right first. Asking sales questions like, “are you looking to do something different”, triggers an internal dialogue comparing what they know with what could be. As we know, comparison is extremely influential way of shifting a mindset (thier beliefs). Change their beliefs, change their behavior.
A study from Berkeley called, “The Sharing Effect” stresses the importance of asking sales questions such as this. According to the study, sharing positive or negative emotional experiences makes people feel better. The comfort of having someone listen to their problems is a powerful communication device. This is a question to ask when you want to take a person on a journey in their imagination. Dale Carnegie calls this the “gap of dissatisfaction”. The great er the gap, the higher the likelihood of a close.
Why is that important?
Sales questions like, “why is that important?” helps flush out their motivations and underlying felt needs. Your solution’s importance is imperative, but the time it takes you to deliver and fulfill your services is also crucial.
It’s about recognizing the underlying importance of your solution. The more you can elevate the value speaking to what is important to the buyer, the greater sense of urgency they feel to resolve the issue now.
This question will help you assess their timetable. Moreover, as you affirmed the importance, it can also trigger customers to talk a bit more about the project’s significance. This in essence, helps you sell by having them sell themselves.
3 Best Questions in Finding the “Hidden Problems” of Your Clients
Not all clients are made equal. Some will have their defenses high. This feels especially true for transactional shoppers who gravitate to the cheapest upfront price. However, it’s nothing a good salesperson can’t crack and influence with the proper sales questions.
Finding hidden problems is all about asking good questions. Clients involuntarily react when you pursue their pain and pleasure points. These are the sales questions to ask if they can’t describe their problems, or if you haven’t pinpointed them yet:
What happens when _____?
It’s important to let your prospects do the talking. You must simply gather intelligence. One of the best sales questions to do this is asking what happens when they do (or don’t do) something.
The goal is to still make them envision, access their imagination, and project into the future. Asking what would happen if they took a specific course of action is a powerful tool. It helps them see the long-term effects of their decision.
For instance, let’s say you’re a plumber and someone has a leaky faucet. A good sales question to ask would be, “What do you do if I leave the leak unrepaired”?
The prospect will most likely say something like, “Well, I call someone else who will do it cheaper”.
You can then say something like:
“I totally agree. There is definitely someone who can fix it for less. There always is. But how much time do you lose waiting for another licensed plumber to come, then pay another diagnostic fee, as well as the cost of the repair itself? In the end, you’ll have spent the same amount of money as we are asking for today, but now you’ve wasted a bunch more time.
Not to mention, we provide a 2-year parts AND LABOR warranty (not just the 1-year parts warranty) which guarantees my work here today, and a free visit if something goes wrong. Did you want to delay, or just get it done?”
This type of sales question is especially powerful to help prospects see problems more than just the immediate cost. Plus, you can emphasize the problems and their effects to further leverage your solutions in the bargaining stage.
Has there ever been a time when…
This question is great for finding out what kind of person your prospect is. It allows you to see how they handle difficult situations and what their decision-making process is like. You can use this information to better understand their needs and tailor your sales pitch accordingly.
For example, say you’re dealing with a client looking for a new and improved HVAC system. You can ask sales questions like “Has there ever been a time when you had a high power bill?” A yes would indicate a desire for an efficient HVAC system and it’s your responsibility to list down their options.
Frame your sales pitch from the angle of how your solutions will help them save more in the long term. These are what you call value-selling questions or questions that let you sell more value to your customers.
If you did this _____, what do you think would happen?
It’s good to ask sales questions that make prospects realize the consequences of their potential actions. Especially when they’re being hesitant in choosing your solutions despite the better value you offer.
If your competition offers a FREE diagnostic service on HVAC systems, customers will be prompted to choose their services. This is especially true if your in-home diagnostic comes at a price. However, justifying additional and irresistible value into the mix can change their purchase decisions in your favor. For example, offering to waive the diagnostic fee if you get the repair while the technician is still in the home, saving him a trip.
Asking this sales question can open their eyes to the reality that your value proposition outweighs others’ pricing. Customers will be keener to choose you over others.
4 Best Sales Questions To Close More Deals
Let’s say you’ve uncovered their problems well enough and have crafted the solution tailored to their specific needs. This automatically makes you the frontrunner in their list of service providers. However, it doesn’t mean you have the transaction in a bag. You have to secure the sales further and make sure you have their confidence.
Mastering the closing ARC (agree, rebuttal, close) strategy is a good way to do this. The thing is, it’s your closing sales questions that set them up for the purchase.
Here are the 4 best sales questions to ask to help you close more deals:
What is the main thing holding you back from solving this problem?
Believe it or not, the sales process is not about your business or your solutions. Unless you know how and why customers buy, you will fail to be their go-to service provider. Asking the question above lets you reframe your closing sales questions and give the buying power back to your customers. It shows your genuine interest to know what hurdles your customers face in solving their problems.
If your prospect is worried about the price, they have one of two issues.
- Budget: The price is simply too much for their perceived budget.
- Value: The price you’re charging does not (yet) exceed the value you are proposing.
When you determine the answer to the price question, you can steer your presentation to meet their underlying felt needs.
Almost certainly if it is a value issue, you have presented the wrong solution. Get clearer on what motivates the buyer most (pain and pleasure points) and match up your selection to satisfy them.
When you remove the stuff they don’t care about and add in the stuff they do, you will close the deal.
The only other reason a person won’t buy from you is that you have failed to demonstrate empathetic, competent convenience. In this case, you either need to reinforce your abilities with the buyer, or get someone else to assure the client that you are there to serve them in the way they expect to be served.
How do you plan to solve this problem?
This sales question is designed to find out what your potential customer’s hot buttons are. It also allows you to position yourself as the solution to their problem. When you ask this question, be sure to have a few solutions in mind that you can offer. This way, you can tailor your sales pitch to their specific needs.
For example, if a customer is looking to have their roof replaced, you could say something like:
“Our team of certified installers can replace your roof in a day, and we’ll back it up with a 10-year no leak guarantee. But what if we could come out and repair it for one-tenth the price? Done right, you could possibly squeeze another 50% life out of the roof for 10 times less cost. Should we send someone out to at least try to save you some money? If we can’t fix it, we’ll waive the diagnostic fee and give you a replacement quote on the spot. Would that be better?”
In this example, you’re down-selling your expensive roof replacement with a cheaper roofing repair. However, you’re also satisfying their underlying felt need for money and building a trustworthy reputation. Clients see that you’re not after their money, but genuinely looking to help them win in a trustworthy and grateful manner.
When do you need to solve this problem?
This is also one of those sales questions geared towards urgency. It instills a sense of urgency in the potential customer. Especially if they have been sitting on the problem (and your solution) for weeks, months, or even years.
Most of the time, they will give a deadline for how long they can wait. For example, “I need this solved in the next two weeks“. When they do, you know that you have a real sales opportunity on your hands. If you can manage, over-deliver and beat their deadline, this will help build a solid rapport with them.
Remember, time kills sales.
What are the criteria you use to evaluate and make this decision?
These are examples of sales questions that can allow you to understand how your potential customer makes decisions. This gives you valuable insights into what you need to do in order to close the deal.
Some people may place high importance on price, while others may care more about their time. Ultimately, whether saving time or money, the buyer is looking to relieve themselves of the stress of the situation.
Once you know how your potential customer makes decisions, you can adjust your sales pitch accordingly.
Problem Questions in Sales
Problem questions are the second component in the SPIN selling process. This selling system is designed to move prospects down the buying process. However, asking the wrong sales questions will jeopardize your position.
The SPIN selling goes:
- Situation Questions – asking for background information to grasp the situation better
- Problem Questions – asking about the problems, dissatisfaction and difficulties your prospect faces
- Implication Questions – asking what repercussions the problem caused customers
- Need-Payoff Questions – asking the benefits that a tailored-fit solution can do to the buyer
Problem questions are sales questions to help you find out what your buyer is looking to solve.
The best sales questions help you understand the problem from your client’s perspective. This helps you better position your product or service as the solution. By taking the time to truly understand their needs, you can craft an attractive sales pitch with real value.
Why asking the right questions is so important in sales?
When you don’t ask the right sales questions during the sales call, you are not being an effective service provider. Businesses are designed to help buyers overcome their problems or fulfill the pleasure points they’re searching for. Besides, your products and services are collectively called solutions because they’re meant to solve a problem.
If you don’t ask the right sales questions, you can’t accurately find out what the buyer needs. You might sell them the wrong product or service, or worse – nothing at all.
Asking questions is often a lost art in sales, but it is necessary if you want to be successful. By doing so, you will differentiate yourself from your competition, build rapport with buyers, and establish trust.
The best sales questions are open-ended, meaning they can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” These types of questions require buyers to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings, giving you more information to work with.
Additionally, good sales questions are specific to the buyer’s needs. They should be relevant to their current situation and tailored to their unique circumstances.
Improve Your Questioning Skills to Better Understand Your Customers
The only way to become the trustworthy and reliable service provider in your prospects’ eyes is by solving their problems. You can never fulfill this responsibility without the right sales questions to guide you where their heart is.
If you want to make more sales, close more deals, and build better client relationships, ask the right questions. Wizard of Sales® can help you master this lost art that makes closing sales a walk in the park. Interested? Book a call.