Closing more deals in the B2B world requires a combination of strategic thinking, effective communication, and the ability to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions can help you to identify the needs of your potential customers and position your product or service as the best solution.
Not only do great sales questions help to qualify leads and identify the needs of potential customers, but they also demonstrate that you understand the challenges and goals of the business. This creates confidence that the solution you offer will be useful.
One of the main benefits of asking the right types of sales questions is how it quickly builds trust with potential customers. According to a study by HubSpot, 92% of buyers say that they would be more likely to purchase from a salesperson who they trust.
Another reason to be strategic with your sales questions is that they can tease out vital information from the prospect which you can use throughout the selling process. Ask the right questions, and your sales reps will know the pain points specific to this particular business, and how to structure the products or services you offer them so that it perfectly matches their needs.
This by itself will put you ahead of most of the competition, because 69% of sales reps say that they struggle to identify the specific needs of their prospects (from a study by The Bridge Group).
In this article, we’ll explore how to ask great questions in sales, including what specific questions you can ask so that you can gain a deeper understanding of the business you sell to, how to best persuade them, and how to tailor your solutions to meet their needs.
General tips for asking great questions in B2B sales
Before we dive into some of the specific sales scripts you can use, it’s important that certain foundational elements are in place. Otherwise, you risk asking the perfect questions and still failing to close the deal.
- Be Prepared: Before you begin the sales process, research the business and the industry. This will help you to ask more informed and relevant questions.
- Be a Great Listener: One of the most important things to remember when asking questions is to listen to the answers. Deeply, so that you are clearly understanding what they are saying, what they are NOT saying, and the implications of all of it. Listen more than you talk, even on a sales call, and you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the business and identify areas where you can add value.
- Use Open-Ended Questions: Open-ended questions encourage the prospect to provide more information, or even to directly state their specific needs and pain points. This can also be a way to subtly direct prospects to a general conclusion you are working towards in the conversation. For example, instead of asking “Do you have any problems with your current solution?”, try asking “Can you tell me more about the challenges you are facing with your current solution?”.
- But, Avoid Leading Questions: On the one hand, you’ve got questions that are effective at gently guiding a prospect towards a general type of conclusion (i.e. “can you tell me about some of the problems you have in your current software solution?”). But on the other hand, if you take that too far, you end up with overtly leading questions. Leading questions are those that are designed to elicit a specific response (i.e. “our services sound super valuable and worth the price, don’t they?”). These can be perceived as manipulative and can damage the trust between you and the prospect.
- Use “Why” Questions: “Why” questions can help to uncover the underlying reasons behind a problem. For example, instead of asking “What are your goals for this project?”, try asking “Why is this project important to your business?” (also a good example of a gently guiding open-ended question).
Scripts for 21 sales questions to help you close more B2B deals
1. Can you tell me about your current process for [problem your product solves]?
Understanding a customer’s current solution can provide insight into what they are currently using and what they are looking to replace or improve.
2. Can you tell me about a recent challenge or pain point you’ve experienced with your current solution?
Knowing about recent challenges or pain points with a customer’s current solution can help identify potential areas for improvement and how your solution can address those specific issues.
3. How does [problem your product solves] impact your business currently?
Knowing the impact of a customer’s pain points on their business can help determine the level of urgency and the potential return on investment for a new solution.
4. How do you measure the performance of your current [problem your product solves] solution?
Understanding how a customer assesses their problem and their key requirements for a new solution can help ensure that your solution meets their needs and aligns with their goals.
5. If I had a magic button I could press to instantly give you what you want in the [general product category] area of your business, what would that look like exactly?
In some cases, prospects will fully outline in extremely precise terms the parameters of what they are after, which just leaves it up to you to say we do/don’t do that, and it costs X. An example…Q: if I could give you exactly what you want in terms of email marketing, what would that look like? A: a sequence of 7 emails, promoting my new webinar, in the style of Frank Kern.
6. Have you tried other solutions before?
Knowing if a customer has considered other solutions can help identify what they have already looked at and what they may be comparing your solution to.
7. How does our solution compare to your current one?
Comparing your solution to a customer’s current one can help them understand how your solution addresses their specific pain points and offers unique value.
8. Can you tell me about your budget for this project?
Can you tell me about any budget or resource constraints you have related to [problem your product solves]?
Knowing a customer’s budget can help determine if your solution is a viable option for them and can also help inform pricing and negotiation.
9. How soon are you looking to implement a new solution?
Knowing when a customer is looking to implement a new solution can help determine the timeline for the sales process and the potential for closing the deal.
11. How will this solution help you achieve your goals?
Knowing how a customer’s goals align with your solution can help demonstrate the potential for success and return on investment.
12. Can you tell me about any specific features or functionality that are important to you?
This question gives you a chance to discuss how your solution does those things.
13. Can you tell me about the decision-making process for this purchase?
Understanding a customer’s decision-making process can help ensure that all necessary stakeholders are involved and that the process moves forward smoothly.
14. Who are the key stakeholders that need to be involved in the decision?
Knowing who the key stakeholders are can help ensure that you are addressing their specific needs and concerns.
15. Can you tell me about any specific timelines or deadlines you have for addressing [problem your product solves]?
Knowing a customer’s timeline can help ensure that the sales process aligns with their schedule and that the implementation can be completed within their desired timeframe.
16. Can you tell me about any potential roadblocks or objections you anticipate?
Knowing potential roadblocks or objections can help anticipate and address them before they become a problem.
17. If we are able to do [XYZ solution they want] for you, how will you utilize that in your business?
This is a way to check that they will apply and gain value from your solution, otherwise, you risk things like project cancellations, chargebacks, or refunds if they take your solution and do nothing with it. It also plants seeds for getting testimonials down the road!
18. Can you tell me about the overall scalability and future direction of your organization?
Knowing about a customer’s scalability can help determine the potential for future growth and expansion, especially if you tend to work with clients over longer periods of time. This can also be a way to vet how established the customer’s business is, to see if it’s the target market for what you offer.
19. What is a real reference example of [XYZ solution or deliverable] that you would like to emulate?
This question is a good way to spot red flags because it helps you determine their realistic expectations. By now you should have an idea of their current situation, the desired outcome, and some parameters on how they’d like to achieve it. If you’re discussing website design services with a prospect and they have no current website, have a budget of $2,000, and expect you to do a beautiful, 100-page website….then this gives you a chance to say no before you accept this nightmare of a project.
20. What would stop you from saying “yes”? Do you have any other questions or concerns you have about our solution?
This is basically a way to ask them to provide all the foreseeable objections they have now or might have down the road so you can address them right out of the gate.
21. What can we do to make this a no-brainer for you to say “yes” today?
Offering additional value or slightly tailoring your offering can help set your solution apart and demonstrate the potential for long-term success.
In conclusion, asking great questions is an important part of the B2B sales process. Not only do they help to qualify leads and identify the needs of potential customers, but they also demonstrate that you understand the challenges and goals of the business. By following these tips, you can improve your ability to ask great questions and build stronger relationships with your prospects.
Asking smart sales questions is the main tool you have to guide your B2B sales process with any given prospect. Great sales questions build trust and understanding in both your mind and your prospects and help you sync your sales process to their decision-making process. Approaching your sales questions in the ways we’ve explored above will help you be more effective at guiding sales conversations to productive territory and ultimately have the best shot at closing the deal in a way that completely resonates.