In this video are some examples of open ended sales questions.
Need vs. Want Open Ended Sales Questions
It can be easy to end up working on a sales lead or sales opportunity where the prospect is expressing a lot of interest in what you are trying to sell. But does this mean that you can count on the deal closing?
The quick and definitive answer to that is NO. Just because the prospect is displaying a high level of interest in what you are trying to sell, this does not mean that they are extremely likely to purchase.
The reason why is that the prospect may love what you are selling but might not genuinely need it. An example of this is where a prospect is using something that your product would replace and your product is much better but what they are currently using is working sufficiently.
In this example scenario, the prospect is responsive to you during the sales process and liking all of the great functionality that you have shown. But when you approach the end of the sales process and it is time to purchase, the deal will stall out because this is a case of more of a want then a need and you could ask open ended sales questions to identity this well before you get to a point where you try to close the deal.
Availability of Funding
It is important to ask open ended sales questions to identify if the sales prospect has money to spend. This can sometimes seem like a difficult subject to bring up so here are some questions that you would be OK asking and questions that should give you very valuable information.
What is the range that you are trying to stay within with this purchase?
Is the budget approved for this purchase?
Authority to Purchase
You should ask questions to determine if the prospect is the true decision maker as you try to determine how qualified the prospect or lead is. This also can be a difficult thing to ask. Not only do you not want to be so direct as to ask the prospect on their level of authority and power, but they may also not answer honestly or accurately in terms of the role they play with making the final decision.
A very diplomatic way to ask this and uncover the key information that you need is to ask the prospect what the decision making process is. Have him or her walk you through each step until the actual purchase is made. This will tell you exactly who the ultimate decision maker is.
Intent to Purchase from You
Identifying if the prospect is serious about purchasing is good but it is not enough. You also want to find out if they are genuine in their intent to purchase from you specifically.
The prospect may intend to purchase from your competitor and just be talking to you to get pricing information to use in their negotiation with the company they have already decided to purchase from.
You will want to know this so that you can protect yourself from wasting time and money on a sales prospect that has no intent to purchase from you. Asking open ended sales questions to identify who else the sales prospect is talking to, how long they have been talking to them, and what they think about their other options will paint this picture for you.