Having the ability to effectively collect information from prospects is one of the keys for how to increase company sales. The optimal way to extract more information is by asking open-ended sales questions.


Looking at Closed-Ended Questions First

Before discussing how to incorporate good open-ended questions, let’s discuss closed-ended questions. Questions that can be answered with one word and/or with a simple yes, no, good, great, etc. are closed-ended questions.

With closed-ended questions, you are faced with two challenges. They create an environment where we’re doing all the talking as well as limit the amount of information provided to us by the prospect. If we do all the talking, the prospect will not be truly engaged in the conversation.

The following are examples of common closed-ended questions that we can easily fall into asking when not paying attention:

  • Are you content with your current provider?
  • Are you seeking to make a change?
  • Are you experiencing any challenges?


Shifting to Open-Ended Questions

Questions that can’t be answered with one word only are open-ended sales questions. Use the three examples above and easily shift them towards being open sales questions:

  • How do you feel about the service you are currently getting from your provider?
  • What is your current status as far as looking to make a change?
  • What are some of the challenges that you are currently experiencing?

Even though these questions may not be worded perfectly, the key important point is that they cannot be answered with a simple one-word answer. When using open-ended questions such as these when meeting with prospects, the prospect will be forced to talk beyond a one-word answer. Now, we all know that there is a possibility you still won’t get the answer you‘re seeking by just shifting to open questions, but your interactions will be greatly improved with prospects when making this small change.

You will have the ability to uncover much more information by getting the prospect to talk more after you ask questions. This will help you better qualify a prospect as well as help you discover pain which can assist you in generating more leads.

In addition, this will get the prospect talking for a large portion of the conversations that you have. In turn, the prospect will open up more and become more invested and engaged in the conversations. If this tactic is used when cold calling, it could lead to greater success because you can go from doing all of the talking to having conversations that flow with both parties doing an equal share of the talking.

By asking more “what” and “how” questions, you easily shift to using more open-ended sales questions. Questions that start out this way will most likely lead to answers that can’t be answered with one word only.


SalesScripter provides sales coaching, helping sales pros to incorporate more open-ended sales questions.