Open Ended Questions For Your Prospects and Customers
The best way we can serve our clients is by knowing what’s going on in their worlds. And the best way to find out what’s going on in their worlds is to ask them open-ended questions—the kind of questions that get them talking.
Fifteen Open Ended Questions
Following are fifteen open ended questions you can ask that will help you get the full picture of your clients’ situations and needs. The questions are broken down into three groupings within the RAIN™ Selling Framework:
- Aspirations and Afflictions
Five Open Ended Rapport Generation Questions:
Ask these questions to help you get to know your current or potential clients and establish an understanding of their current reality.
- What’s going on in your business these days?
- If the Wall Street Journal were to write about what was going on in your industry (or your business) in the last few months, what would they say?
- How has your business changed in the last few years?
- What’s it like doing your job these days?
- Can you help me to understand what’s happening in your world these days?
Five Open-Ended Questions to Uncover Aspiration and Afflictions:
Ask these good sales questions to help you understand what afflictions (challenges) your client is facing, and what aspirations (goals) they have for their business.
- What keeps you up at night? (An oldie, but goodie.)
- In the best of all possible worlds, what do you think you could do with your business?
- What’s holding you back from reaching your revenue (or profit, or other) goals?
- If there were no restrictions on you, what business difficulties would you erase? Can you tell me why you say that?
- What does success look like for you and your business?
Five Open Ended Questions to Uncover Implications of Solving (or Not Solving) Aspirations and Afflictions:
Ask these questions to help put a monetary value on solving your clients’ afflictions or achieving their aspirations.
- If you could overcome these challenges, what would happen to your company’s financial situation?
- If you were to make this happen, what would it mean to your career?
- How would implementing these changes affect your ability to compete?
- How do you think senior management would evaluate the success of this initiative?
- If you don’t solve (insert the particular challenge here), what kind of difficulties will you face going forward?
As you ask any open-ended sales questions, bear in mind that a most difficult task is not sounding too salesy when asking questions. While we’ve suggested wording here in this article, feel free to make the wording your own. Find your own voice when asking the questions.
Also, sometimes all you need is to ask one open-ended question and your client will share with you all the information you need to help them. Other times you may need to ask a few, but make sure you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to make your client feel as if he is on the witness stand.
One other tip: if your client answers an open ended question but you want them to expand a bit more, ask them, “how so,” or “can you tell me a little more about that?” You’ll be surprised at just how much you can learn, and the difference it will make in your ability to help your clients succeed.