“Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice”
It’s an old one but a good 'un!
It was drummed that into me throughout my sales career. You wouldn’t walk in to the surgery and have a Doctor write you a prescription without a discussion.
The same goes for selling too.
Irrespective if you only have one product or service to sell you first need to diagnose the situation and only then should you prescribe or offer your solution.
You achieve this by asking quality questions to unearth the needs, the wants and the desires of your prospects and clients.
Ask too few questions and your prospect will view you as just paying lip service to them.
Ask quality questions and your prospect will build up the view that you are really taking the time to listen to them and to gain a thorough understanding about where they’re at.
Remember, your prospects need a good listening too not a good talking too!
So here are 100 questions that you can ask.
Review the list and select the ones that are most applicable to you. Amend some of them, add to others and then use them the next time that you’re meeting with a prospect or client.
- “How can we help?”
- “Could you please give me some background to this?”
- “Why are you seeking to do this (work/project/engagement)?”
- “Why isn’t this particular technology/service/product/situation/issue working for you right now?”
- “Can you tell me more about the present situation/problem?”
- “How long has it been an issue/problem?”
- “How long have your been thinking about this?”
- “How is it impacting your organisation/customers/staff?”
- “How much is the issue/problem costing you in time/money/resources/staff/energy?”
- “How much longer can you afford to have the problem go unresolved?”
- “When you went to your existing suppliers and shared your frustrations about this problem, what reassurances did they give you that it wouldn’t be repeated?”
- “How did these problems/issues first come about? What were the original causes?”
- “How severe is the problem?”
- “Why do you think the issue/problem has been going on for so long?”
- “When do you need the issue/problem fixed by?”
- “What kind of return or payoff will you be looking for if you get a successful resolution of the problem?”
- “How often do you think the problem has come up where you weren’t even aware of it?”
- “Who is ultimately responsible for this?”
- “Tell me more about it.”
- “Can you make an educated guess as to how much it costs you?”
- “Why have you been dealing with this for so long?”
- “Why do you think it is happening?”
- “What’s your role in this situation/issue/problem?”
- “What bothers you the most about this situation/issue/problem?”
- “What are you currently doing to address the problem?”
- “What have you done in the past to address the problem?”
- “Have you used this type of product/service in the past?”
- “Does this affect other parts of the business?”
- “What has prevented you from fixing this in the past?”
- “What kind of timeframe are you working in to fix this?”
- “How long have you been thinking about it?”
- “Who else is aware of it?”
- “What is it costing you?”
- “What is your strategy to fix this problem?”
- “Who supports this action?”
- “Is this problem causing other problems?”
- “What practical options do you have to address this?”
- “What kind of pressure is this causing you and the business?”
- “Does your competition have these problems?”
- “What goals and objectives do you have in general for this?”
- “What is your biggest challenge with this?”
- “What has made you want to look into this now?”
- “In a perfect world, what would you like to see happen with this?”
- “What are your key objectives with this?”
- “What options are you currently looking at?”
- “What options have you tried?”
- “What do you like about your current supplier?”
- “What kind of time frame are you working within?”
- “How important is this need (on a scale of 1-10)?”
- “What is the biggest problem that you are facing with this?”
- “What other problems are you experiencing?”
- “What are you using/doing now?”
- “If you could have things the way you wanted, what would it look like?”
- “Do you have any preference with regards to the solution?”
- “Is there anything I have overlooked?”
- “Have I covered everything off?”
- “What alternatives have you considered?”
- “Have you got any questions you’d like to ask me?”
- “What is important to you in finding a solution to this?”
- “What are your top 3 requirements that this solution just has to have?”
- “How soon would you like to move with this?”
- “What 3 key outcomes do you want from this?”
- “How does this look/sound/feel to you?”
- “Can you please tell me about that?”
- “Can you give me an example?”
- “Can you be more specific?”
- “What other factors have we not discussed that are important to you?”
- “Are there any other areas I haven’t asked you about that are important to you?”
- “What sense of urgency do you have here?”
- “What else should I know?”
- “If you could design the perfect solution, what would it look like, how much would you spend and how long would it go for?”
- “What are the long term effects of the problem?”
- “What are the intangible effects of the problem?”
- “Do you know what other areas the problem is costing you money?”
- “Can you put an amount on the problem in terms of cost: Weekly, monthly, annually?”
- “Can you see how much money you/your organisation lose every day by not solving this issue?”
- “Does the issue cause problems with employee moral?”
- “Does the issue cause problems that negatively affect the motivation of your staff?”
- “Can this problem affect productivity?”
- “Who/how does the problem ultimately affect your current customers?”
- “How does the problem ultimately affect your prospective customers?
- “How does the problem ultimately affect your sales teams?
- “How does the problem ultimately affect your other employees?
- “How does the problem ultimately affect your sales process?
- “How does the problem ultimately affect your pricing/selling costs?”
- “How does the problem ultimately affect your reputation/goodwill/brand?
- “Can you see how this problem/issue can give your competition a competitive advantage?”
- “If you were in your competitors’ shoes, how would you take advantage of this?”
- “If you were your competition, what would you do right now?”
- “Do you know what your competition is thinking /planning about this?”
- “Do they suffer the same problem?”
- “Do your competitors also have this problem or is it unique to your organisation?”
- “Is this an industry wide problem?”
- “Is it regional/geographical/demographical?”
- “How much does this problem cost you in man hours/time?”
- “How much more productive could your people be if problem did not exist?”
- “So what type of a number would you put on this?”
- “Looking at this from a point of lost sales, how much is just ONE sales worth to the company?”
- “Who did you work with last time and why?”
- “Thanks for all of the information that you’ve given me, it’s been really useful. Have I asked you about every detail that’s important to you?” (This is a “last chance saloon” question which enables the prospect to cover anything you may not have asked about but was important to them!)
About Sean McPheat
Sean McPheat is the founder and Managing Director of international sales training firm MTD Sales Training, part of theMTD Training Group. He is also the founder of Skillshub, which is an innovative microlearning platform which provides short, focused, online training sessions in under 5 minutes. Sean has been referred to in the media and peers alike as a thought leader within the sales industry.
MTD won Best HR/L&D Supplier at the 2017 CIPD People Management Awards and have delivered training, coaching and consultancy to over 3,500 different organizations and 100,000+ staff from 23 different countries. Sean leads a team of 25 of the most effective sales trainers in the world and has appeared on TV on several occasions as an expert in the field of sales development.
Sean is a bestselling author, a much sought-after international speaker and has been a previous finalist in the British Business Awards for his Entrepreneurial achievements.
Sean has been featured on CNN International, the BBC, ITV, SKY, The Guardian, Forbes, Arena Magazine, Marketing Weekly and radio stations such as BBC WM, Insight Radio and LBC (London’s Big Conversation) and has over 300 other media credits to his name.
He is the author of the FREE Report “450 Sales Questions – What To Ask In Any Sales Situation” which has been downloaded over 35,000 times on the internet.
Contact: 0333 320 2883