17 Crucial Sales Questions to Ask Prospects

People making sales calls in a office

The secret to closing a deal is asking the right sales questions to prospects. If you don’t ask prospects the appropriate questions, you will never understand their needs or know what issue needs to be solved. This will make it impossible for you to succeed from the start.

Today's consumers have a variety of needs and desires, so it’s crucial to ask qualifying questions to determine whether your prospect can benefit from your product or service. Good sales qualifying questions allow you to establish a connection with customers and move the sale along.

However, you can't just ask prospects any old question; you need to ask them open-ended questions that quickly qualify or disqualify them. In this article, we will share 17 sales questions to ask prospects to build trust, recommend the best solution, and ultimately, make a sale.

What are Open-Ended Questions?

Open-ended questions are those that cannot simply be answered by a "yes" or "no." They require individuals to elaborate and provide a thorough, meaningful response utilizing their knowledge and emotions. There is no right or wrong answer to an open-ended question; instead, each person will have their own unique response.

An example of an open-ended question is, “What are the biggest challenges your company faces?”

Open-ended questions can be either broad or specific. When it comes to cold call questions, you should start with broad open-ended questions before moving on to more specific questions. This will allow you to uncover your prospect’s core needs and gather knowledge so you can persuade them to act.

Why Ask Open-Ended Questions?

When a sales rep asks a prospect an open-ended question, it gives the prospect a chance to explain themselves and describe what motivates them. During a cold call, open-ended questions help the sales reps receive a comprehensive response and uncover crucial information so they can provide the prospect with the most value. 

Additionally, it shows your prospects that you are interested in what they have to say and that you genuinely care about helping them solve their problem.

The objectives of open-ended questions at each stage of a cold call should be to:

  • Gather information
  • Make the customer feel heard 
  • Move the prospect along the customer journey path to the decision-making stage 

B2B Sales Questions to Ask Prospects

Below are 17 of the best sales questions to ask prospects:

Sales Questions to Build Trust

1. What’s happening in your company these days?

Asking board questions first sets the tone for the conversation and helps keep it lighthearted. When you pose this question, customers frequently list the few things that are most significant to them, providing you with ideas for future selling opportunities. Additionally, it demonstrates to potential customers that you care about what's happening and aren't just out to make a sale.

2. What did you do before you started working at this company?

Knowing where your buyer has been and where they are going in their career can be useful information. You might learn that a prospect completely changed professions, giving you the opportunity to ask more questions and learn more about them. 

3. You are an expert in X. What made you choose that area?

This prospecting question for sales will help you learn more about the prospect's motivations and reasons for enjoying what they do. The customer will feel as though you genuinely want to get to know them, which will foster a high level of trust.

Sales Questions to Discover Goals

4. What are your short and long-term goals?

This open-ended sales question to ask prospects will give you a sense of where the company wants to go in the future. You can learn what their objectives are and then explain later how your product or service will help them in achieving those objectives.

5. What does your team want to accomplish this year?

Similar to the sales qualifying question above, this will give you more insight into their team goals for the year, allowing you to better understand their motivations and identify ways to add value to their team.

 6. Do you have any deadlines coming up that you need to meet?

By asking the prospect if there are any impending deadlines, you can generate a sense of urgency. If you learn that they have a deadline, you can think of ways to emphasize how your solution will help them meet that deadline.

Sales Questions to Discover Weaknesses

 7. What prevents you from achieving your sales objectives?

Asking about their obstacles early on is essential. This is one of the best sales questions to ask prospects to identify their pain points and address them. When they state what their obstacles are, it will give you a chance to think about how your solution can help them overcome their challenges.

 8. What is the problem you’re trying to solve?

Similar to the previous cold call question, this one will help you better understand what they're struggling with. You never want to offer a solution until you are fully aware of the problem's scope. The more you know, the more effectively you can help.

 9. Why isn't your current plan of action working?

This is a fantastic way to discover more about the organization's difficulties and pitfalls. Understanding what isn't working right now will help you comprehend what the team could be doing better and how your product fits into long-term strategies.

10. What do you think is the biggest weakness of your team?

This qualifying question helps the prospect identify the biggest weak spot on their team, enabling you to focus on that area. When making your pitch, you can bring up that flaw again to really propose the best solution and course of action.

11. What steps have you taken to deal with these issues?

In many cases, a prospect has made an effort to solve their issues, but it hasn't worked. This question is a great way to learn more about the strategies they've tried in the past so you can avoid suggesting these same solutions in your pitch. 

Sales Questions About Buying Processes

12. How does your business evaluate the potential of new goods or services?

If you want your product to sound attractive to your prospect, you must understand how they assess a product before buying it. Learn what they want from a new product so you can explain how yours delivers on that.

13. What are your purchasing criteria?

This is another great prospecting question for sales because it asks customers to describe the main factors they consider when purchasing a new product. What features do they seek in a product? What price range are they looking at? 

14. Do you need any additional information in order to make a decision?

To ensure that your prospect has all the information necessary to make a decision, you should always ask if there is anything else you can provide. By doing this, you'll also make sure that everyone is on the same page and that the conversation ends smoothly.

15. Who else might have a say in this choice?

Once you’ve asked all the right qualifying questions, you need to determine whether they’re the primary decision-maker. If your prospect isn’t a decision maker or other players need to be involved, this is where you should ask for their contacts and try setting up a meeting with them.

Sales Questions to Close the Deal

16. What else can I do to support your decision-making process?

When you're closing the deal, ask your prospect what else you can do to help them with their decision-making. Understanding what your prospect needs to complete the deal is crucial, and using your own sales team and resources to make it happen is crucial.

17. Would you be open to a quick conversation with my manager to see if we’d be a good fit?

If your prospect is the decision maker, it’s time to close the deal. This is the best sales question to ask prospects when trying to get them to meet with your manager. If they agree to the meeting, find a day and time that works, then thank them for their time.

The Bottom Lime

With the help of these sales questions to ask prospects, you can have an insightful and fruitful conversation with them and, ideally, set up a meeting.

Keep in mind that it's always best to let the prospect do a lot of the talking. In order to significantly increase win rates, HubSpot claims that the prospect talk time should be increased from 22% to 33% of the total call time.

Is your business struggling to generate sales through cold calling? SalesHive is here to help. We have a professionally trained B2B calling services team to help you generate qualified leads and achieve your sales goals.

Click here to learn more about our B2B Sales Outsourcing Services!


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Each part of our cold calling guide is equally important and needs to be mastered.

Part 1: Sales ROI Calculator for B2B Cold Calling

Before you can improve your cold calling efforts, it’s important to benchmark the ROI of your existing cold calling efforts. We’ve created a handy calculator that you can use to figure out where you currently stand and then you’ll learn about industry-tested methods to boost your KPIs.

A single SDR working full time can make 8,400 cold calls per month which will result in about 432 conversions per month. More conversations lead to more meetings per month, and more meetings will increase the number of closed deals per month.

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Cold calling is far from dead– many businesses use cold calling in some capacity, though the intention is certainly different from what it was back in the day.

Originally, cold calling was solely a sales technique that had a whopping 2% success rate and annoyed an entire generation of consumers. Now, many would think that cold calling is dead, but that’s not the case. It has simply evolved in both technique and purpose. Rather than aggressively trying to close a sale in a ten-minute phone conversation, today’s brands can use cold calling to get to know consumers who are not aware of their brand.
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Part 3: How To Communicate With Prospects On The Phone

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It’s going to be very common that you are going to be experiencing a fair share of objections. Objections are not NO’s.
If you get an objection- they haven’t hung up on you yet, so they’re still listening and hoping for you to overcome!
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