Finding a serious customer is hard work. Asking some of these questions may make it easier to find and keep them.

Not every customer is a good fit for every product. What is one question to ask or approach to use to test how serious a prospect is about making a purchase?

1. When Do You Need It?

Why do you need this item right now? Finding out when they need the item can dictate how serious they are about buying, especially if you need the sale that day. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

2. Why Do You Want This Product or Service?

It is important to understand the why as early in the sales cycle as possible. A prospect filled out your form online, called your sales rep, or found your product for a reason. This means that something is going on internally that caused the action. We need to know why. I train my sales teams to be like “doctors” and deeply understand the reasons why prospects are coming to the “hospital.” – Josh Mastel,

3. When Should We Start the Free Trial?

Nothing will jolt a prospect into action like a firm date. A question like “How about we get your free trial going on Thursday?” brings the conversation into reality, and forces the prospect to assess whether or not the product is a good fit. A little urgency never hurts in sales. – Eng Tan, Simplr

4. Does This Fit Your Budget?

Finding out the customer’s budget is one of the most important factors to consider. Many people, whether in B2B or B2C sales, would buy many products if they were cheap enough. The first thing you have to know is if the customer can afford your solution. Next, ask questions to determine if their need or problem is urgent enough to make your solution worth it to them. – Shawn Porat, Scorely

5. How Long Have You Been Thinking About This?

“How long have you been thinking about this?” is a great question. Most people think about things for a while before acting. Since something prompted them to contact you, follow up with “Why is it important now?” You’ll begin to uncover the emotion behind the decision and build a sense of urgency. – Thomas Minieri, Minieri & Company

6. What Are You Using Now?

I like to ask what solution they are using for their current problem now. That will let me know how serious they think the problem is. If they are replacing a current solution, I find they are more inclined to buy than those that are just looking. The chance that someone will spend money on something that they don’t already own or use is much less than those who are already paying. – Scott Kacmarski, Reps Direct

7. Who Else Needs to Know?

There’s nothing worse than going through a sales pitch only to find out that the person you just spoke with is not the decision maker, and ultimately has no say in the implementation of your product. It’s important to figure out that all stakeholders are in attendance of the meeting. One tip is to record the meeting in case that it needs to be forwarded to anyone else later on. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

8. Would You Like a Free Trial?

I think that neither the customer or the seller knows for sure whether the product is a good fit until they try it. A free trial involves an investment of resources and time for the customer, which makes the probability of buying greater. The offer of a free trial also invokes the theory of reciprocity. It shows that you are willing to invest in the success of the customer. – Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

9. Is This an Investment?

When I’ve interacted with customers and studied their purchasing habits, I’ve been able to boil down most of their interactions and justifications to one of two motivations: Either they purchase a product impulsively due to compelling marketing or they purchase it as a long-term investment. I’ve tried to model my design and marketing strategies around the latter kind of customer over the former. – Bryce Welker, Crush The LSAT

10. What Concerns Do You Have About Switching to a New System?

Understanding the customer’s objections at the beginning of the presentation gives you an advantage because you’re able to tailor your sales deck to answer their roadblocks. For example, if they are worried about losing customer data, spend time showing them how easy and safe it is to import their customer’s information to your system. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

11. What Is That Problem Costing You?

I have found that the level of seriousness to make a purchase is directly related to the cost of the problem a company is having that the product could solve. If it’s a nominal cost, then the company most likely won’t make the investment in the new product. However, if the company sees a real financial drain on their organization from an issue, they will believe the investment will be worthwhile and stop that drain. It’s important to show them how the product can essentially stop that drain. – Peter Daisyme, Hostt

12. What Do You Want to Achieve?

Customers often have inaccurate preconceptions about which products are best for them. We provide a wide range of server hosting options, a technical area that potential customers may not fully understand. We ask them what they want to achieve and figure out a product or custom solution that will enable them to meet those needs within their budget. – Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.

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