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Top Best Sales Questions to ask on a sales call

Vy Dang
4/7/21 12:50 AM

Having a call with your leads is like having the first date with your crush. You need to build connections with them through uncovering their needs and showing that you are their best fit through demonstrating your skills. To do that, asking good questions is a key. By asking right questions, sales reps can collect a treasure trove of important customers’ information that they can use later in the buying process. Additionally, with good questions, salespeople not only express that they care and want to solve the buyers’ problems but also show their expertise in the field.  

You can learn what are good sales call questions by recording your call. With the recording, you can listen back and see how your prospects responded to the questions. Don’t know how to record mobile phone calls🤔? Check out our previous blog here. Or you can simply download Salestrail  and start to record your calls automatically from today. (Salestrail also can  log all call data for your sales team stress-free 😉)

Hubspot call recording

In this blog, you can find a cheat sheet with all possible good questions separating into 7 categories that you can ask to make the most out of your sales calls. 

Questions to build rapport with the prospects

Building rapport is essential for any business meeting, yet, it is even more important for sales calls. Without the rapport, your prospects can hang up the phone in five seconds. So how should you start your sales calls? 

Firstly, not everyone likes engaging in unexpected calls. But if you greet them like an old friend, they might reconsider. You can start by saying: “Hello [Name], how have you been?”

After a warm greeting, now you need to show why they should maintain the call with you either by: 

  • Discussing current events as or personal event as an ice breaker: “I just saw from your LinkedIn that you have been promoted to [the position]. Congratulations. How is your new role so far?  ”. By bringing these familiar topics, you can make them feel related and want to build a connection with you. Remember, don’t talk about weather (unless it’s severe or unusual and really affect everyone) or sports, they are just too generic. But also, don’t use too personal topics that make the recipients think that you are spying on them-‼. 

  • Showing your knowledge of the prospects by discussing their current issues: “I visited your LinkedIn company profile and saw one of your major projects this year is…” Or “My research about your company shows you’re in the process of ..., ”. 

  • Showing that you have mutual connection with them: “One of my clients, [Name] at [Company], mentioned to me you are [a good fit for, looking for…]

After making your prospects feel connected and stay in the line, the next step is to make them talk about their worries and needs. 

Questions to identify the prospect’s problems and needs

At this point, every sales rep understands the importance of planning and researching about your prospects before making the actual sales calls right? (If not, we won’t judge 😉. You can quickly check out our guide for effective sales call planning here).  Can you believe that only 13% of customers believe a salesperson can understand their needs? That is mainly because sales reps often start with presenting the company’s solution rather than asking customers to define the problems first. Therefore, rather than making a boring sales presentation, you should give the spotlight to your prospects, allowing them to speak about their problems. By asking these discovery questions, you can dig deeper to the main concerns of your prospects. Besides, please listen carefully to their answers in this section, you can identify which highlight services/products/features in your solution that your prospects cannot reject. 

Top 10 questions for discovering your prospects’ needs:

  1. What are your top business priorities right now?/What are your business growth goals for this year?
  2. Can you tell me about your current process? What are you looking to improve?
  3. How would you describe the problem you’re trying to solve?/What are your biggest challenges now?
  4. What challenges have you faced in the past when trying to solve these problems?
  5. How much does the problem cost you and your company?
  6. What caused you to address this issue today?/What’s led to you wanting to make a change now?
  7. Is there anything else about the situation that worries or frustrates you?
  8. Who are your biggest competitors?
  9. If there is a current supplier, why are you considering an alternative?
  10. One of the most common issues in [industry of the prospect], we keep hearing about [a common issue in the industry that your solution can solve]. Is this an issue for you?

Huhm, if you come well-prepared and the discovering questions above have already been answered in your book, a bit of validation for the pre-call research doesn’t hurt. Asking validation questions not only helps you to confirm your assumptions but also shows your prospects that you truly care and understand what they need and  they can trust your suggestions. 

Top 4 question to validate your pre-call research:

  1. Are you still having problems with (a specific issue you saw in their social media)?
  2. What are the primary roadblocks to getting the problem resolved?
  3. How are you handling (change you saw announced on the company owned media such as website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on)?
  4. What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since you (changed roles/were promoted/switched companies … some change you saw in their LinkedIn profile). 

If the prospect actually leaves their contacts asking for the sales calls, then in this discovering stage, you might want to consider to use these below questions instead. 

Top 8 questions to ask when your prospects start or ask for the calls: 

  1. What interests you in our product/service?/ What prompted you to explore our solution?
  2. What is the biggest barrier preventing you from meeting your goals?
  3. Which vendors are you currently working with? How satisfied are you with their service?
  4. What is your strategic direction?/ What are your short-term and long-term goals?
  5. What are your current priorities? Save money? Increase productivity?
  6. What are your current needs? (sometimes it’s best to just ask them directly ;) )
  7. How do you see our solution fitting into how you plan to move forward?
  8. How can we better serve your needs?

Questions to formulate your solution

After confirming the needs, once you recognize that your product/service (or part of it ;) ) is a good fit for the prospects, you can start to build demand for your solution. By asking the right questions, you can gradually give out your solution in between the discussion. Remember when presenting your offer, try to repeat and highlight words that your prospects are using when answering these below questions. 

Top 5 questions to formulate the your solution:

  1. What would an ideal solution look like for you?/ What do you think could be a potential solution?
  2. What are the must-have criteria for a solution?
  3. What are the nice-to-have criteria for your solution?
  4. What are the qualities you’re looking for in a solution provider?
  5. What are your buying criteria?

Questions to assess the prospect’s timeline

You might not close the deal in the first few sales calls but asking about the timing will help you to see if the solution is urgent for the prospects’ business. If the issue is urgent, congratulations, you are one step closer to the deal. If not, these questions will guide your prospects into thinking if they should act on the current problems faster. Besides, the timeline questions also give your understanding on what your prospects expect from your solution in a certain timeframe. 

Top 6 questions to discover the solution timing:  

  1. What’s prompting you to do something about this challenge/opportunity now? 
  2. How urgent is the issue? 
  3. How long have you been facing this problem/dealing with these pain points? 
  4. How soon would you be open to install/onboarding/delivery?
  5. What is your timeline for making a decision? 
  6. What is your timeline for seeing results? 
  7. What could be done to make this an easy transition in the time frame you imagine?
  8. Do you and your team have the time and resources in place now to transition to a new solution?

Questions to assess the prospect’s budget 

Most of the time your prospects might bring up questions about the costs if they are interested in your solution or they are actively looking for the solution. However, if they don’t, at some points of the discussion, you should start to tiptoe into the budget subject. These budget questions will give you a hint on whether this prospect will become your customer or not. How? Since with their answers, you would know if they can afford your solution or not. Besides, their attitude when answering these questions might also give you a hint on whether they are really interested in your solution or not. Not all prospects will become your customers, they might just be too polite to interrupt you ;), so save time for both would be a great choice in some situations. 

Besides, if your solution’s price is tempting enough, bringing these budget questions up will speed up the sales process and help you to close the deal faster. For example, with Salestrail, our auto-call log solution only costs $2/month (super affordable, right✌?), we often make the other side impressed when bringing up the budget discussion. 

Top 5 questions to discover the budget of your prospects: 

  1. What is your annual revenue?
  2. What is the budget range you have in mind for solving this problem?
  3. What will happen if the budget isn’t enough to fully fund the solution?/ Would you be willing to meet us at our price if it means great service? 
  4. How much have you spent on similar solutions in the past?
  5. Are you comfortable with our [annual/month/quarter/etc.] billing cycle?/ Would you agree to annual billing if we can provide a discount?

Questions to explore the prospect’s buying process

Unless you tried to sell a product/solution for personal or household use, in most B2B sales calls, your recipients aren’t the only decision maker. Therefore, it is essential to know the buying steps in your prospects’ organization. The answers for these questions will help you to make sure if you have the right person to move forward with or if you should add other people to the conversation. Besides, it will also show the real interest of your prospects with the offered solution. 

Top 5 questions to discover the steps necessary for closing the sale:

  1. How do you make a major decision in your organization?/ How will you go about making your buying decision?/ What’s your typical purchasing process like?
  2. Who else in the company should we reach out to?
  3. Who else, in addition to yourself, will need to review and sign off on a proposed solution?/ Is there anyone else in your company you’d like or need to include in these discussions?
  4. Have you adopted and deployed a similar solution before?/ Do you have embedded decision criteria for choosing a vendor?
  5. What additional information will you need in order to make a decision?

Probing questions - Questions that can be used to dig deeper in some areas of the discussion

Probing questions can be used at any point during the sales call where you want to dig deeper and gather more information about some area. These questions cannot be used separately but rather as a follow-up to during a discussed topic. Using probing questions at the right moment also can make your sales call more engaging to the prospects. 

Top 6 probing questions:

  1. Can you tell me more about that?
  2. Could you please give me some background to this?
  3. How long have you been thinking about this?
  4. Can you be more specific?/Can you give an example?
  5. How did that impact you?
  6. How do you feel about that?

Advancement questions - questions during the last minutes of the calls

Towards the end of the sales call, you need to wrap it up and see if the deal is getting closer or not. These advancement questions can be used to discover any final roadblocks that your prospects still highly concern. The answers can help you to prepare for the next calls or at least give a hint on whether you might have any chance with the prospects.  

Top 5 advancement questions:

  1. It seems like this would be a good fit for you. What do you think?/ Does this sound like something that would be beneficial to your business? 
  2.  Do you still have any concerns I can address at this time?/ Are there any reasons why we can’t move forward at this time?/ Right now, what would you say could stop us from working together? 
  3.  Based on what I’ve described, do you believe what I’m able to offer can address your needs?/ Do you have any concerns about how our product/service would work? 
  4. I want to help make it easier and more beneficial for you. What things will make it easier for you to make a decision?
  5. Are you all set to review the contract?

Besides, if your prospects ask for more time into thinking about your solution or refuse to give their answer this time. Don’t be sad! You still have many chances since study showed that sales people often make 6 calls to win a sale. Therefore, you can still suggest,  schedule, or ask for permission on  follow-up meetings using these below questions. 

Top 5 follow-up and move-forward questions:

  1. Would you mind if I show you and your team our product demo in the next call?
  2. What would be the best time for our next meeting?/What’s the best time to follow up with you on what we discussed – late this week or early next week?/ What are the best times/days to follow up with you for next steps throughout this process?/ When could you, the other stakeholders and I connect next week?
  3. What’s the best way to communicate with you moving forward?/ How would you like me to contact you with (something you agreed the prospect should see or hear) later this week?
  4. What goals do you want to accomplish at our next meeting?/ What do you want to be on top of our next meeting agenda?
  5. Who else should attend in our next discussion?
  6. Would you consider us in the future should things not work out?/ Could we connect again in six months?

In general, it is hard to get your prospect even on the line since 80% of calls go to voicemail. So make sure that you can make the most out of your call time with the right question. In addition to these suggested sales questions above, you can also start recording all your sales calls as they will also give you a hint on which questions work best for your business. You can record your sales calls using Salestrail with only $2. Still not sure if it is right for you? Don’t worry, we got your back. You can have 5 day-free-trial here. (No bank info or credit card require 😉 )

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