What are good probing questions for sales?
Here are answers to the question, “What’s a good probing question to ask in sales?”
- It’s All About the Follow-up Questions
- Tell Me More
- What Brought You Here Today?
- Why Isn’t Your Current Product Working for You?
- What Specific Problems Are You Looking to Solve?
- What is Your Strategy to Fix This Issue?
- What Goals Are You Trying to Achieve With This Purchase?
- What Have You Tried in the Past to Solve This Problem?
- Who is Involved in the Decision-Making Process?
- How Does Your Product/Service Address Customer Need?
It’s All About the Follow-up Questions
Whether it’s rapport building or discovery, sales reps tend to place too much emphasis on crafting the best question, but this is missing the point.
To build trust and get better information, you need to ask follow-up questions that dig below the surface. So you might start with a probing question like “What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in your business right now?” to start the conversation, but these early questions can put leads on the defensive and won’t always get straight answers.
To draw out further insight, listen closely and ask them to tell you more about one aspect of their answer, such as “Can you give me more details about how that specific challenge is impacting your operations?”
This follow-up question helps to provide a deeper understanding of their needs, and allows you to identify specific areas where your product or service can help them.
Seth Kinney, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Inside Sales Solutions
Tell Me More
A good probing question in sales is one that helps you to understand the customer’s needs, pain points, and goals. It also aims to uncover information that can help you to tailor your sales pitch or solution to better meet those needs.
Here are a few examples of effective probing questions in sales:
- Can you tell me more about the specific challenges you are facing with your current solution?
- How does this problem or need currently affect your business?
- What are the most important factors you are looking for in a solution?
- Can you walk me through your decision-making process for purchasing similar products or services in the past?
Probing questions should be open-ended and non-leading, allowing the customer to share as much information as they feel comfortable with. It is also important to listen actively to the customer’s responses, taking notes and following up with more questions to gain a deeper understanding of their situation.
Trey Ferro, CEO, Spot Pet Insurance
What Brought You Here Today?
A large proportion of buying decisions are made to solve a particular need or problem. By identifying the issues your prospective customers or clients are faced with, you can modify your sales approach to better suit their requirements.
For a customer that has placed an inquiry, a question such as “What brought you here today?” is a great opener. It can not only help you identify which of your lead-generation strategies are working, i.e. was it a deal they saw advertised, referred by a friend, or just walking by?
It will also help you establish time frames and urgency. What made them pick up the phone today, do they need the product by a certain date? Were they frustrated by their current situation? This can provide a great hook. “Sorry to hear you are feeling that way, how would you feel if I told you we can remedy that for you today?”
Asking questions like this gets the customer talking, allowing the salesperson to identify pain points and pitch the perfect solution.
Clare Jones, HR and Outreach Manager, Custom Neon
Why Isn’t Your Current Product Working for You?
A good question in sales can help uncover the customer’s pain points and understand the areas where their current product or service is not meeting their needs. This approach can help a salesperson to identify the unique value that their product or service can provide and position it as a solution that addresses the customer’s specific challenges.
Additionally, asking this type of question can help to establish trust and credibility with the customer, as it shows that the salesperson is genuinely interested in understanding their needs and helping them to find a solution. By asking this question, the salesperson can gain valuable insights into the customer’s needs and tailor their pitch to align with those needs, ultimately increasing the chances of closing the sale.
Ariel Westphal, Marketing Director, Net Pay Advance
What Specific Problems Are You Looking to Solve?
“What specific problems are you looking to solve with our product/service?” is a practical probing question as it helps the salesperson or company rep understand the customer’s needs and pain points in a more specific and detailed way.
This information can then be used to address the person’s needs and build a more personalized solution. Such insight can also be helpful when tailoring the sales pitches and showing the potential customer how the product or service can address their specific requirements.
Additionally, this question focuses on the customer and their priorities and goals, which allows the salesperson to establish a more meaningful and productive relationship.
Nina Paczka, Community Manager, Resume Now
What is Your Strategy to Fix This Issue?
A good probing question to ask in sales is “What is your strategy for resolving this issue?”, as it helps uncover the underlying motivation behind a purchase or the desired outcome of working with you.
This question can be used in a wide variety of scenarios, from the initial contact with a client through the most complex negotiations. It allows you to gain valuable insight into what your customer values and what tactics they plan on using to achieve their goals.
Ultimately, you will have more options for upsells, cross-sells, and add-on services when you know their intentions and plans for solving the problem.
Kate Wojewoda-Celinska, Marketing Manager, Spacelift
What Goals Are You Trying to Achieve With This Purchase?
As an anthropologist, I approach sales with a focus on understanding consumer behavior and the underlying motivations, values, and beliefs that drive purchasing decisions. A good probing question in sales should uncover these key drivers while also building rapport and establishing trust with the customer.
For example, an excellent probing question might be: “What challenges or goals are you trying to achieve with this purchase?” This question allows the salesperson to gain insight into the customer’s needs while showing that they are genuinely interested in helping the customer succeed.
By approaching sales from an anthropological perspective, salespeople can gain a deeper understanding of their customers, build stronger relationships, and ultimately close more deals. This is because they can tailor their approach to customers’ needs and motivations rather than relying on generic sales tactics.
Matt Artz, Business Anthropologist, Matt Artz (Consultant)
What Have You Tried in the Past to Solve This Problem?
“What have you tried in the past to solve this problem?” This is an excellent question to ask in a sales call because it gives you important insights into how your prospect has approached the problem in the past. You can then compare your approach to theirs to see how your solution is different.
Consider asking this question in a way that demonstrates that you understand their frustration with the current situation and are eager to help them find a better solution.
Luciano Colos, Founder and CEO, PitchGrade
Who is Involved in the Decision-Making Process?
A good probing question in sales is one that helps to uncover the customer’s needs and pain points. One example of a probing question is, “Who is involved in the decision-making process for this purchase?”
This question allows the salesperson to understand who they need to persuade and what information is important to them. Overall, a good probing question should be open-ended, non-threatening, and relevant to the customer’s needs.
Janie Doyle, Marketing Director, Scvehiclehire
How Does Your Product/Service Address Customer Need?
Can you tell me more about how your product/service addresses this specific need or pain point for your customers? For example, how does it help them increase efficiency or save time?
This question is great for understanding how the product or service addresses a specific problem for the customer, and it also shows that you are actively listening and engaging with the customer’s concerns.
It also allows you to explore the specific benefits that the product or service provides, which can help the customer make a more informed decision.
Daniel Foley Carter, Founder, Daniel Foley SEO
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