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BCI Sales Tip #4: How To Ask The Right Questions

Practicing how to ask the right questions can be a powerful tool. It encourages the exchange of ideas, drives innovation, builds rapport between team members, and uncovers any potential shortcomings.

So, instead of focusing on whether to ask questions in the first place, the focus needs to be on how to ask the right questions. 

4 Types of Questions to Ask to Sales Clients 

There are four types of questions that can be asked: open-ended, probing, clarifying and reflective questions. Adapting these to the specific needs of each client, and using a combination of question types, can go a long way in establishing healthy, effective communication between you and your client. 

  1. Open-Ended Questions

To start collecting information, use broad, open-ended questions. These questions don’t invite a “yes” or “no” answer. A question like, “What is your design intent for this project?” encourages your client to respond in detail, paving the way for thoughtful discussions. Then, you can actively listen to their answer and determine what to focus on next.  

  1. Probing Questions

Probing questions typically follow an open-ended question. They are used to dig deeper into your client’s response, to check for more detail and to explore specific areas of interest. Be mindful that if you ask too many of these questions, you run the risk of turning your discussion into an interrogation.  

  1. Clarifying Questions

To avoid confusion or misunderstanding, look to ask a clarifying question. This type of question does not typically reveal new information, rather it is used when something is unclear or hard to understand. Not only does it ensure that you have understood your client’s meaning, but it also gives your client confidence that you are actively listening and participating in the conversation.  

  1. Reflective Questions

Reflective questions, as the name suggests, allow you to reflect what your client has said back to them. By either repeating or rephrasing their response into your own words, you can confirm, clarify or highlight certain details of the conversation.

Reflecting your client’s sentiment can also be done in the form of a statement, for example, “You feel this product would work for your business if it could be made of XYZ”. Demonstrating your understanding of the client’s needs is more likely to generate a climate for agreement. 

Asking questions is a vital part of the sales process. When coupled with our tips for improving communication, asking the right questions is going to set you apart from the crowd and position you as an expert in the field.  

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