Skip to content

March 21, 2022

Sales Science Series #1: Ask Your Client Questions

Indian male ceo executive manager mentor giving consultation on financial operations to female African American colleague intern using laptop sitting in modern office near panoramic window.

Asking questions before starting to pitch your product is key to landing a successful sale. Not only can you identify what’s most important to your customer, but you can also start to form a relationship with the client. Top salespeople spend about 54% of their initial conversation asking questions, and it’s no coincidence. By strategizing what to ask and how to ask it, you can set yourself up for a successful sale. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you master the initial sales conversation.

Ask the Right Amount of Questions

Asking too many questions can make your client feel like they’re being interrogated, while too few can leave you without a full understanding of the client’s needs. Generally, aim to ask between 11 and 14 questions. This helps you focus in on what the client cares about and gives you room to ask a few follow-up questions.

Be Specific

General or vague questions aren’t going to give you the information you need. Instead, ask specific questions that focus on the client’s key business opportunities, challenges, and goals. Asking about the building’s color and facade, or the business’ logo and color scheme can help you determine which channel letter option will suit their needs. For more ideas, check out our list of key questions to ask a new prospect.

Encourage Thorough Responses

Asking open-ended questions can help you get a lot more information than a yes/no question. Encourage your client to respond thoroughly by using phrasing like:

Can you walk me through…

Talk to me about…

Help me understand…

Create a Two-way Conversation

No matter how good your questions are, your client isn’t going to respond well if they feel like the conversation is one-sided. Take the time to respond to your client’s answers before you move on to your next question. You can paraphrase their response, use their answer to frame your next question, or create a conversation about what they just said. Whatever you choose, make sure you acknowledge their answers!

Remember, forming a relationship with a client is an art, not a science. No two conversations are the same, so experiment with your phrasing, number, and type of questions to see what works best for you and the clients you serve.

Wonder what comes next? Check back soon to read the next installment in our Sales Science Series to learn how to create a customized pitch for your client.