Sales questioning techniques 

Discover the Prospect's Needs - Wants - Desires

Sales questioning techniques that will show you how to discover the prospect's Needs - Wants - Desires with a structured, interactive conversation. 

The sales stages of the sales processSlide from the sales training course Selling Success

Make the Questioning Stage of your sales process a pleasant discussion and not an interrogation. 

Learn how to get prospects talking on what is important to them and what they want from your products and services.

Use a proven sales technique: The Sales Questioning Funnel, to structure and organise the questions you ask.

Follow this sales training on asking questions and organise the information you gather and your prospects will write your Sales Presentation for you. 

Questioning to discover the most suitable solution, proposal or offer for the prospect is the 2nd of the 4 stages of the sales process I use to train my sales teams. You can see the other stages by following the connections on this page. 

The Sales Questioning Funnel 

The Funnel includes the best sales questioning techniques I have come across in my long sales career and they work in face to face meetings and on telesales calls,

This is a way to get prospects talking freely on a wide topic related to your sales meeting or call, and then take the topic down the funnel to get more specific information. At the end of the Questioning Funnel you have a nice neat package of information that you can use in your Sales Presentation, the next stage of the Sales Process. 

You can start as many funnels as you need with Wide Open Questions on different topics. These sales questioning techniques will change your approach and dispel the old practice of using Open Questions starting with Who, What, Where, When & How to start a conversation. 

Sales Questioning Techniques Used in the Funnel

The sales questioning techniques used in the Funnel start with Wide Open Questions, conversation starters.

They give the prospect a wide scope within which to frame their responses and the freedom to answer openly. They are also a great questioning technique to start a conversation, even the low responders will give you more information than with any other type of sales questions.

When they have answered your Wide Open Questions you can keep the conversation going with an open question, which has a slightly narrower focus.

Then the questions get more specific as the Sales Questioning Funnel narrows and you use Alternative and Closed Questions. Learn more about the types of questions and how to use them...

Wide Open Questions 

Wide Open Questions start with a phrase that encourages the prospect to respond with several sentences or more of information. They encourage longer and better responses than old fashioned Open Questions and make it difficult to answer with just one or a few words. Examples of openings for wide open sales questioning techniques:

Tell me about...
Explain the...
Describe the...
Give me your thoughts on...

And there are many more conversation starters you can add to the list that will get your prospects talking. You simply add the topic you want them to tell you about to the opening, conversation promoting phrase. The scope of the question and the answers are controlled by the topic you add. 

Open Questions

The Wide Open Question has generated a response that has given you information that you want to explore further. Now you use Open Questions, the Who - What -  Where -  When - How questions, to gain more information.

The Open Questions slightly narrow the boundaries within which the responses from the prospect will sit, allowing you to focus on a particular part of the response they have given you. You can see how the sales questioning techniques of the funnel start to narrow and target parts of the responses to the previous tier of questions.

Specific Open Questions

A Specific Open Question is formed by starting with Who - What -  Where -  When - How and adding a phrase to make the open question focus on specific information on the topic you are questioning.

For example: What colour, Which type, How many. Then the topic of the question is added to clearly define what is being asked: What colours would you like on the interior upholstery? 

These questions are sometimes called Leading Questions because they lead the prospect to a specific area of a topic.

Alternative and Closed Questions

At the narrow end of the Questioning funnel you ask Alternative Questions, requiring the prospect to choose usually one of two options, and Closed Questions that gain a Yes or No response. 

Example of an Alternative Question: You said you would like a dark read upholstery, would that be crimson or maroon? 
Example of a Closed Question: When you say dark red, are you thinking burgundy?

These narrow questions give you the specific, fine detail on the prospect's wants, needs, and desires. Now you have a clear picture of what you need to present to the prospect in the Presentation Stage. If there are further topics to explore, start another funnel with another Wide Open Question and use the same sales questioning techniques. 

Become an Expert on Sales Questioning Techniques 

The sales questioning funnel gives sales people many benefits, I have recommended this questioning technique in all the sales training I have presented to teams and businesses in a wide range of sectors.  

Notice, how this technique turns the Questioning Stage into an interactive conversation. It prevents this stage becoming a questionnaire or the prospect feeling they are being interrogated with short, sharp questions. 

There is a lot more to learn on the sales questioning techniques of the funnel. In the sales training course I have created for my teams there are over 20 pages just on the Questioning Funnel and how to use the different types of questions. I also show you how to organise the information you gather by using the questions so you can quickly create the next stage, the Sales Presentation. 

Each funnel gives you a neat topic package of information on the prospect's needs, wants, and desires related to that topic. The topic packages contain minute detail on specific needs provided by the funnel technique. When you have covered all the relevant topics with a funnel, you present how you will meet the  needs they have with benefits the buyer has told you they want. When you become an expert on these questioning techniques the buyer writes your Sales Presentation for you.

How to learn the Sales Questioning Techniques of the Funnel

Selling Success, the proven sales training course

The sales questioning techniques of the funnel are so important that there are over 50 pages on the Questioning Stage, including 20 pages on just the sales funnel questions, in my sales training course Selling Success. 

Selling Success is the course I have written and developed while managing and training sales teams for large businesses throughout my 25 year career. Everything in the course, including the Questioning Stage, has been tested and proven by working sales professionals.

In the course you get a step by step guide on which questions to ask, common mistakes to avoid, how to use a Sales Funnel, organising the information you gather, and how to gain agreement to a summary of the prospect's needs. The summary is a key element of the sales closing technique that is woven into the sales process presented in the course. This makes closing the sale  simple as you have already gained so much agreement. Whether you sell face to face or by telephone, you will want to see what this sales training course can give you at Selling Success

The Stages of the Sales Process 

Sales training presented by breaking the sales process into stages is the most effective way to learn how to sell, and the one I have relied on for my income while working in sales. To view an overview of all the stages and how they work together visit the page on the: Sales Process

The Questioning Stage is the 2nd of the 4 stages of the sales process. You can see sales training on the 1st stage, the Introduction, at: Sales Introduction

The Sales Presentation Stage

The Closing Stage 

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