Asking the Right Questions


Establishing rapport is the first step in a strong salesperson-client relationship. Getting to know your prospect and what makes her business tick will prove to be an essential tool as you navigate the sales process.

In order to create that rapport, though, you have to ask the right questions and be prepared to change course depending on the answers given. Know what you’re going to ask but be flexible as you learn more.

Ask About Them
Start by getting to know your would-be client personally. Take note of how her office is decorated – is there a hole-in-one trophy on the wall? Pictures of kids on her desk? Can you determine her alma mater? Try to connect on a personal level by asking about these things and getting to know her as a person, not just a potential commission.

Ask About Their Experience
Find out if they’ve used a product similar to yours in the past. What was her experience? Did she find benefit? Or did the product fail to meet expectations? Use her experiences (even negative ones) to sell the benefits of your product.

Ask Broad, Open-Ended Questions
As you’re gaining more and more knowledge of your prospect’s values and history, start asking questions about her business. Start with broad questions that can’t be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No.” Open-ended questions start with a prompt like, “Tell me about…” or “Explain how you…” whereas closed-ended questions usually begin with “Do you..” or “Will you…”

Drill Down
As you ask questions and listen to the answers, make your questions more and more specific to your product. Listen for key interests and needs to tailor your questions so that you can point out how your product may benefit the client’s needs.

Don’t understand something your prospect said? Ask about it! Don’t be left in the dark and leave yourself vulnerable to recommending a product or service that has nothing to do with your client’s needs.

How Can You Help
Don’t forget to ask them how you can help. “What more can I tell you?” “What kind of further information do you need?” “What would keep you from purchasing my product?” All of this information can help you to better determine your prospect’s goals.

The ESA Advantage
Executive Scheduling Associates knows how to ask the right questions. And while we won’t be asking questions related to your product, we will ask the right questions to get you in the door. “Which day is better – this one or that one?” or “Is there a better time for me to call back?” are all simple strategies that help us create and maintain rapport with your clients and prospects. We also note scheduling preferences (for example, “Only does lunches on Tuesdays”) so that we aren’t asking the same questions over and over again. We know who to call, what to ask and how to fill your calendar.

That leaves only one last question: How can we serve you?

What’s the funniest question you’ve ever been asked in a business setting? Tell us about it in the comments.

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