450 Probing Sales Questions To Ask

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Lady thinking about what sales questions to ask


Sales Questions

The quality of the sales questions that you ask your prospects and customers will ultimately determine how successful you are in your sales career.

Almost everything in your sales role focuses around asking quality questions and it’s a topic we take very seriously and cover in-depth in all of our Sales Training programmes and courses.

These can include questions around the needs and wants of your customers, questions to build rapport, questions to qualify your prospect, for clarification on a certain point – you name!

One of the worst mistakes you can make as a sales professional is to assume.

Making assumptions about requirements, budget, decision making and how urgent their needs are is a big mistake and will only lead to you having to overcome sales objections that you just don’t need. You can’t tailor your sales pitch if you don’t have a full understanding of all these elements.

Yes, asking quality sales questions is key whether you are using consultative selling, solution selling or whatever approach or process you are using. Therefore, I have put this ultimate guide together for you! It contains 450 of the most effective sales questions to ask. They cover almost every situation.

It would be a pretty long blog if I listed all of them on this page so I’ve created a PDF where you can download all of the sales questions.


450 sales question

FREE DOWNLOAD: 450 Sales Questions – What To Ask In Any Situation

Sales Questions To Ask

For the purposes of this post I’ve split the questions into common themes and have listed 10 for each area.

Don’t forget to get the full list on the link above.

Questions To Build Rapport

  1. “I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you’ve only been here for 3 months. How are you settling in?”
  2. “I noticed on your LinkedIn profile that you used to work for ABC Company. I used to work for them/we’ve done work for them/ what did you do there?”
  3. “Looking on your website I noticed that you’ve just done this/achieved that/won this contract/moved to bigger offices/ (anything newsworthy to talk of) how’s that going?”
  4. “How’s business?”
  5. “How long have you been with the company?” (If you don’t know via LinkedIn)
  6. “So you’ve been with ABC for 5 years?” (If you do know via LinkedIn)
  7. “So you’re the title/position. What exactly does that entail?”
  8. “So as the title/position, do you also oversee…”
  9. “How many people in your department/do you manage/ do you employ?”
  10. “How long have you been in that/this field all together?”

Questions To Help You Set The Stage

  1. “Well, thanks for seeing me today John. What I’d like to do is really get to understand the situation you’re in and understand your requirements and then I’ll be able to go away and put a proposal together for you along with the fees. Does that sound ok to you?”
  2. “Well, thanks for seeing me today John. What I’d like to do is really get to understand the situation you’re in and understand your requirements and then I’ll be able to see how we can help you. Does that sound ok to you?”
  3. “So, as I mentioned on the telephone, today’s meeting should only take about 30 minutes and what I will do is show you exactly how our software works and why it is so powerful. I will demonstrate how much time and money it can save your IT department. Then, if everything looks good to you, we’ll arrange a time for us to come back and install a trial version. How does that sound?”
  4. “What we will go over today is….does that sound acceptable?”
  5. “So today, I am going to …..and then I’ll be able to see which of our solutions is the best fit for you. Is that what you had in mind?”
  6. “Our objective this morning is to first perform a comprehensive examination of your network procedures. As I had mentioned in our last meeting, this will take about two hours. Then we will analyse the information for a few days and get back to you with our recommendation. Is that what you were expecting?”
  7. “Over the next 20 minutes or so, I’ll show you exactly how we are able to help your retail sales people close more sales. Then I’ll detail our pricing structure and see what you think…Ok?”
  8. “I am going to ask you a series of questions to see if I can determine the problem. Is that ok?”
  9. “In order to do this, I am going to have to ask you several questions and some may be a little sensitive. Is that ok with you?”
  10. “In our discovery meeting, we will get into a few rather touchy areas…will that be alright?”

Investigating Needs & Wants Questions

  1. “How can we help?”
  2. “Could you please give me some background to this?”
  3. “Why are you seeking to do this (work/project/engagement)?”
  4. “Why isn’t this particular technology/service/product/situation/issue working for you right now?”
  5. “Can you tell me more about the present situation/problem?”
  6. “How long has it been an issue/problem?”
  7. “How long have your been thinking about this?”
  8. “How is it impacting your organisation/customers/staff?”
  9. “How much is the issue/problem costing you in time/money/resources/staff/energy?”
  10. “How much longer can you afford to have the problem go unresolved?”

Questions Around Budget

  1. “We’ve got a number of options available; what were you looking to pay so I can match the right solution at the right price for you, just a ball park…” (Say “Just a ball park” very casually as though it’s no big deal)
  2. “Have you got a ball-park figure in mind? Just a ball park…” (Say “Just a ball park” very casually as though it’s no big deal)
  3. “What are you working with at the moment? Just a ball park…” (Say “Just a ball park” very casually as though it’s no big deal)
  4. “Have you got budget approval for this already?”
  5. “How do you handle budget considerations?”
  6. “How will this product/project get funded?”
  7. “What sort of budget do you have in mind?”
  8. “What are you looking to pay for this?”
  9. “We’ve got a number of options available; what were you looking to pay so I can match the right solution at the right price for you?”
  10. “Is there budget allocated for this project?”

Questions To Determine The Decision Making Process

  1. “Is there anyone else involved in making this decision other than yourself?”
  2. “What’s the process for making a decision on this?”
  3. “How will you make the decision on who to select as a supplier?”
  4. “How will you be evaluating the different options?”
  5. “What other options are you considering?”
  6. “What can you tell me about your decision-making process?”
  7. “How much support does this have at senior management level?”
  8. “When will you be ready to implement a solution?”
  9. “When are you looking to make a decision?”
  10. “How did you select your current provider?”

Questions To Uncover Pain & Pleasure

  1. “If you could get this under control/sorted what would it mean to your business?”
  2. “What problems is the current situation causing you?”
  3. “How would implementing these changes affect your competitiveness in the market?”
  4. “How would implementing these changes affect XYZ?”
  5. “How will you evaluate the success of this project/implementation/product?”
  6. “If you don’t solve (insert the particular challenge here), what kind of problems will you face going forward?”
  7. “You mentioned that you’re having issues with your current provider. If you work with us, what are you hoping will be different?”
  8. “What would solving this issue/problem mean to you personally?”
  9. “If you were to wave your magic wand how would this look now?”
  10. “If we were able to solve your problem, what would this mean to your company?”

Questions Around Establishing KPI’s and Outcomes

  1. “What KPI’s shall we put in place to ensure this is a success?”
  2. “How will you know we’ve accomplished your goals?”
  3. “How will you measure this?”
  4. “What indicators will you use to assess our progress?”
  5. “Who or what will report on our results?”
  6. “What are the standards that we will have to meet?”
  7. “What are the immediate benchmarks we need to reach with the service?”
  8. “What are long-term benchmarks that we should aim for?”
  9. “Do you have a list of objectives the software will have to meet before you may take a look at an enterprise –wide system?”
  10. “What departments will be involved in establishing KPIs for the new installation?”

Questions To Ask Around Possible Barriers

  1. “What obstacles do you see that would prevent this project from going forward?”
  2. “Is there anything we haven’t discussed which could get in the way?”
  3. “In the past, what has occurred to derail potential projects like this?”
  4. “What do you estimate the probability is of this going ahead?”
  5. “Have I covered everything you need to know? What, if anything, do you additionally need to hear from me?”
  6. “Is there anything happening in the company at the moment that might jeopardise this?”
  7. “What are your thoughts so far?”
  8. “Do you have any concerns at this stage?”
  9. “What are the restrictions on this project, from your side?”
  10. “Does what I’ve said sound like what you have in mind?”

Questions To Help You Answer Objections

  1. “Exactly what do you mean by that?” (Generic response to get further information)
  2. “Exactly what do you mean by too expensive?” (Compared to what?)
  3. “I understand, but let me ask you a quick question. Do you like the idea/proposal/product? I mean, does it make sense?” (Try to gauge interest by their response)
  4. “Can you see how it will save/improve/better your money/time/resources both today and into the future?” (Gauge if you did a solid sales interaction and the prospect can see and believe in the benefits)
  5. “Who do you think will lose the most if you do not take action?” (Express the reality)
  6. “Why do you feel that way?”
  7. “If we resolve this, can we then move forward?” (Isolating the objection)
  8. “What were you looking to pay?”
  9. “What would satisfy you?” (Make the buyer answer the objection.)
  10. “What can we do to overcome that?” (Makes the buyer answer the objection and demonstrates joint accountability.)

Closing Questions

  1. “How would you like to move ahead?”
  2. “When would you like to move ahead?”
  3. “Shall I book some time in to kick this off?”
  4. “Shall I make the arrangements to get this ordered?”
  5. “Is it better to get this started immediately, or wait for XYZ to happen?”
  6. “Is there anything at all from preventing us moving forward?”
  7. “I can schedule two days next week to make a start?”
  8. “Can we proceed?”
  9. “What would you like me to do next?”
  10. “What are the next steps?”

Questions To Help You Manage The Account

  1. “How did we do this year?”
  2. “In what ways can we (I) improve?”
  3. “What changes do we (I) need to make to ensure greater success?”
  4. “What have we done well this year/period?”
  5. “Has anything changed since we last met?”
  6. “We haven’t heard from you in a while. Did we do something wrong?” (If customer is dormant)
  7. “What could we have done better this year/period?”
  8. “If you could change one thing about our relationship, what would it be?”
  9. “What goals would you like to see us (me) accomplish with you in the next 12 months?”
  10. “What are your goals for next year compared with this year?”

Questions To Clarify What The Prospect Is Saying

  1. “So just to confirm, you’d like to take the full package option with additional widget. Is that correct?”
  2. “Ok, to summarise your requirements then, you’ll looking for an IT system to replace your existing one that will be more reliable with automatic monitoring dashboards so you’re notified of problems instead of you finding out the hard way with downtime. Is that right?”
  3. “Am I right in assuming that all of your team will need training in how to use the system? Is that right?”
  4. “So the way I understand it is that what you really need to accomplish is (Enter in here), is that right?”
  5. “Let me make sure I’m hearing you right. You want to shorten the overall hours your north store is open, plus (Enter In Here) do I have that right?”
  6. “Let me see if I am reading you right (Enter in here) is that what you are saying?”
  7. “So let me double check. What we want to do is (Enter in here) Do have it right?”
  8. “Let me just make sure we’re both on the same page (Enter in here) Does that sound like I’ve got it?”
  9. “So just to make sure there is no confusion….”
  10. “Let me see if I am clear on this (Enter in here) am I on the same page with you?”

Rhetorical Questions

  1. “Isn’t this a fantastic offer?”
  2. “Isn’t this work perfect?”
  3. “Don’t you like the way this package is set up?”
  4. “Do you like to save money?”
  5. “Do you like to make more money?”
  6. “Do you like saving time and being more productive?”
  7. “Does that look good or what?”
  8. “To stop losing money is what you really want, isn’t it?”
  9. “You want to get more business in the door, isn’t that right?”
  10. “You want to close more sales, don’t you?”

Questions To Help You Get Referrals

  1. “Since you are so pleased with our work, would you recommend us to your peers?”
  2. “I’m glad you’re happy with what we’ve achieved. Who else in your network might need the same services?”
  3. “How many of your peers can I also help to (Enter in here)?”
  4. “Who do you know that might also want to (Enter benefit in here)?”
  5. “XYZ is a huge company. Is there anyone else internally that might be interested in what we do?”
  6. “I’m glad you love the product John. Who else do you know who would benefit from it as well?”
  7. “As you can see, what I do is help people with (benefits of solution). Off the top of your head, who do you know that might also benefit from this type of information/product/service?”
  8. “The problem we solved for you is one that most people in your industry suffer from. Do you know of anyone else who I could help with this too?”
  9. “I’m really glad that you’re pleased with our work. I’d really appreciate it if you’d pass my name along to anyone else you know who would be interested in (what you do)”
  10. “I’m really glad that you’re pleased with our work. I’m always looking for referrals and wonder if you know anyone else who might be interested in _______ (what you do).”

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Are Open Ended Sales Questions The Best?

A common question that we get asked on our sales courses is this:

“Are open ended sales questions better than closed questions?”

Don’t get too hung up about asking only open-ended sales questions. Ask the type of question that is right for that moment. For example, when you ask for the sale it could be a closed question that requires a simple yes or no answer.

Sometimes a closed question is much better than a closed question isn’t it? (that’s a closed question by the way!)

But a closed question would not be appropriate to get the conversation going, to get a good grasp on the customer’s requirements or to test the waters with a closing sales transition statement. Instead, an open-ended sales question would be far more productive. The key skill of being able to ask the right question at the right time is covered in great depth in all of the sales training that we deliver and also during Sales Negotiation Training programmes. Being able to negotiate a good deal for your company will come down to how well you can understand the needs and wants of your customer, and you can only do that by asking quality questions.

Open sales questions normally start with one of the following words:

• “How”
• “What”
• “Why”

Closed questions can start with the following:

• “Is”
• “Are”
• “Do”
• “Did”
• “Would”
• “Will”
• “Could”
• “Can”
• “Was”
• “Were”
• “Have”
• “Has”
• “Who”
• “Which”

450 sales question

FREE DOWNLOAD: 450 Sales Questions – What To Ask In Any Situation

Don’t forget to download the complete list of 450 sales questions from the link above.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

Sales DNA

Updated on: 10 August, 2020

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