An effective questioning strategy is vital to be an effective salesperson. Questions allow control of any conversation as the other person will be answering. Questions gather necessary information as well as provoke ‘Buying Signals’, which can be used to identify a need for a product or service. A good question seeks to challenge a sales person’s mind, in order to reach the desired outcome.

There are 5 fundamental question groups comprising of various question types:

  • Openquestions
  • Closed questions
  • Multiple questions
  • Leading questions
  • Rhetorical questions

1. Open Questions
What is the purpose of an open question? – To gather information.

Open questions give the person a wide range of choices from which to respond.
There are seven types of commonly used open questions:

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • When?
  • Which?
  • How?

2. Closed Questions
What is the purpose of a closed question? – To check specific information.

Traditionally, these are defined as questions that are answered by a Yes/No or single word answer. Questions which have a restricted range of answers are not as effective in encouraging the gate keeper or customer to communicate, so use with caution. But do keep in mind that they can be the right questions to ask at certain points of the sale.

3. Multiple Questions
What is the purpose of multiple questions? – To offer a choice of answers based around a central theme.

Multiple questions are open enough in nature to allow the customer a chance to relay information, but by providing a choice of answers, the answers will be specific (closed) in nature. These questions are also referred to as Multi-Part questions.

4. Leading Questions
What is the purpose of a leading question? – To direct a conversation to a particular subject you wish to talk about.

Leading questions can be used to provoke a particular answer or direct a conversation down an avenue that is beneficial to yourself. Closing questions are often leading in nature as they are trying to provoke a specific result from a customer.

5. Rhetorical Questions
What is the purpose of a rhetorical question? –To point out an obvious answer/point.

Rhetorical questions can be used to encourage customers to agree or consider a particular point. Rhetorical questions are commonly statements that are formulated as a question, but are not supposed to be answered:

Before showering your customer in questions, always remember to give them an opportunity to talk. The more they talk, the more signals you will pick up by listening, helping you to distinguish their specific needs.

Asking the right combination of questions in the sales process can unlock the gateway to vital information and contribute to successfully completing a sale.