Most sales scripts often include questions intended to move the sale forward. However, ask any of these questions during an initial conversation with a customer and you've probably lost the sale.

Question 1. "Would you agree that...?"

This question is trying to manipulate the customer into saying "Yes" to something small, so that they'll say "Yes" to buying.  Unfortunately, the customer knows exactly what you're trying to do because this technique is at least a hundred years old.  Instead ask: "What are your priorities around...?"  This opens a discussion of the actual issues so that you can learn more about the customer's situation.

Step-by-step-guide-sales-successQuestion 2. "If I could save you 15%, would you be interested..."

In this case, you're holding out the promise of cost savings as a way to hook the customer into listening to the rest of your spiel.  However, this question communicates to the customer that you haven't bothered to find out anything specific about that customer.  Instead ask: "Where would cost reduction be of particular value?" This allows the customer to expound on where they're having challenges, so that you can better craft a solution.


 Question 3. "Do you have a budget for this?"

Obviously, you're trying to qualify the lead so that you don't waste time selling to somebody who doesn't have the money to buy.  This question tells the customer that you're only interested in making a sale and (worse) are hoping to run up the price to match the stated budget.  Instead ask: "How are decisions made for this type of purchase?"  Phrasing the question this way launches a discussion of the buying process, so that you can tailor your selling activities to match. Remember: if the need is great enough, the budget will follow.

Question 4. "Are you the decision maker?"

You wanted to ensure that you're talking to the person who can say "Yes" and (if not) use that person as a bridge. However, you're also implying that you suspect your customer contact is some flunky gatekeeper who needs to be schmoozed.  Instead ask: "Who are the stakeholders?" This question will uncover the various people who will need to reach consensus on the purchase in order for it to be actually made. Ideally, you'll get a roadmap of whom you must contact in order to close the deal.

Learn the right questions to ask in this Salesforce ebook below.