Seven major types of questions invariably come up in a sales meeting. By preparing for these ahead of time, a salesperson can significantly improve chances of closing. For extra preparation, try roleplaying an interview with a colleague so you can perfect your tone and create actionable rebuttals for any concerns a potential client might voice.

Open Ended Questions
Almost every question you ask a prospect should be open-ended so the client has a chance to clearly articulate his or her needs. When you ask yes or no questions, the client may just say yes or no. Give your prospect a chance to voice something you didn’t specifically request. Their answers may key business drivers of which you weren’t aware. Make it as easy as possible for the client to answer questions fully.

Questions that Identify Needs
The best way to find out what your client needs is to ask what he or she already has. You can better position your products or services in a sale if you understand the landscape into which you push them. To gather the most insight from a prospect conversation, frame needs based questions in a way that lets you see how the client perceives his needs.

Questions that Identify Process
Ask about the nature of the production or service process in detail. Find out where inefficiencies lurk, and offer solutions that are easy to implement using your product.

Questions that Identify Buying Motivations
The scope of a problem often determines needs, while motivations are usually emotional, based on tastes and desires instead of concrete facts. Find out why a particular individual is interested in your solution. Perhaps he or she is passionate about a project that will advance his or her career, or perhaps he or she wants to improve the way his or her team produces.

Questions that Are Sensitive
Don’t ask questions that pry into areas that may be sensitive to the client, even if you think they are pertinent to the conversation. If you tread into areas that make the client uneasy, your client will transfer that sense of unease to you as a person, and the chances of a sale fall to almost zero.

Questions that Are Easy to Answer
Make your client feel smart whenever you can. Ask questions that you are sure he or she will know the answers to (even if you already know the answers).

Questions that Keep the Tone Positive
Ask questions to which the answer is yes as often as possible. People like to say yes. It’s much easier than saying no, and invites less opportunity for confrontation. Phrase questions so the answer is yes. For example, rather than asking, “Have you had a chance to review my proposal,” ask, “did you get my proposal? Let me know when you’ve had a chance to review it.” A quick “yes, got it,” takes minimal effort for your prospect, and keeps the communication channel open. When you create a conversation with a succession of yeses, it’s much easier for the client to say yes when the question of buying comes up.

When you ask the right questions, it’s easy to lead the client to a sale. Keep in mind that an emotional appeal to values holds as much importance as facts. If you can take into account the tastes, values and desires of your prospect, you can keep them feeling good and saying yes.