To succeed in sales, Paul Cherry says that we need to get good at developing true business relationships. The path to this is asking great sales questions. There are six types of questions you will need to ask in order to achieve your biggest sales goals
1. Educational Questions
Educational questions are designed to enlarge a customer’s knowledge base. One of the best ways you can set yourself apart from your competition is to ask educational questions by engaging your prospect to share information that's relevant to their problems. Here's a template for asking an educational question:
“I read recently in an article from ___________ that ___________ . Tell me, how does that compare with what you are seeing?”
When to Use an Educational Question:
As a teaser on a voicemail to get prospects to return your call;
At the beginning of a meeting to use as an icebreaker;
When a sales conversation is stalled; or
When you want to breathe new life into an existing customer relationship.
2. Lock-On Questions
Lock-on questions build on what buyers have told you, which allows you to extend the conversation and dig deeper into the issues they face. The trick is to focus on what will give you and your prospect greater insight into their real need. Here is an example of when to use a lock-on question. If your prospect says, "I'm looking for a partnership rather than a vendor who is just looking to peddle a product," you can follow up with, "Can you give me a little more insight into what you mean by partnership?"
You want to use a lock-on question when you have a good rapport with the prospect and have a sincere desire to connect with your prospect.
3. Impact questions
Impact questions explore the impact of the challenges the prospect is facing. With an impact question you are allowing your prospect to vent their frustrations. To get the wheels turning and solve their question, here is an example of what you might ask: "When you have this problem, how much do you think it will cost you to fix it?"
4. Expansion questions
Expansion questions are designed to build on what a prospect has already shared with you by providing greater insight into their needs. The more you get them to reveal, the more likely they are to buy from you. These questions begin with phrases like:
“Describe for me . . .”
“Share with me . . .”
“Explain . . .”
5. Comparison questions
Comparison questions allow buyers to compare one thing to another. This is a way you get more clarity on your prospect's priorities. There are many avenues of discussion for these types of questions such as:
Time: Helps you determine what has happened in the past, what is likely to happen in the future, and how priorities might change over time.
Decision makers: These questions help you figure out who makes the big decisions in the organization.
The prospect's competitors: These questions can stimulate a dialogue about your prospect's industry and how they differentiate themselves from their competition.
Alternative choices: You can open the door to new solutions your prospects might not have considered before.
An example of a comparison question might be: “Your customers have a lot of choices today. Tell me what you believe are the unique attributes that set you apart from others in your market.”
6. Vision questions
Vision questions invite your prospect to see what they stand to gain through doing business with you. Ultimately, you want your prospect to come to the conclusion that you can help them achieve their goals, hopes and dreams. Vision questions will often contain the word “if”. An example of a vision question would be, “If we could eliminate that problem you have, what would it mean to you and your organization? What would it mean for you personally?” Asking these types of questions will get your prospect to realize how their needs are met by doing business with you.