Too often salespeople spend too much time talking and not enough time listening to what their customers or potential customers really want. One way to reduce talking and increase listening is to ask great questions and listen with interest to the answers.

Fifty Questions

The following are 50 questions you might want to include in your repertoire. Read through them, and choose at least five that you might use during your next sales encounter.

1. Why did you agree to meet with me today?
2. What is going best in your business right now?
3. What is your biggest challenge?
4. What encouraged you to start this project now?
5. If you could wave a magic wand what would you change?
6. What problem or challenge would have the biggest impact on your business if solved?
7. What worries you the most about your business?
8. What has changed in your business the most in the last five years?
9. In the ideal world, what would you like to see happen?
10. What are your objectives this year?
11. What are your options next year?
12. Would you please describe your organization’s decision process?
13. Would you please rank the current state of your business on a scale of one to ten?
14. What is your organization’s mission?
15. What is your company culture like? Why?
16. What are your team’s mission and vision?
17. What is the best thing that happened last year?
18. What is important to your boss?
19. What is important to your team?
20. Would you tell me about your roles and responsibilities…?
21. What is important to you?
22. Where do you want to be in two years?
23. Where do you want to be in five years?
24. Who do you admire in your business and why?
25. How long have you been with this organization?
26. What do you like about what you are currently doing?
27. What don’t you like about what you are currently doing?
28. What can you tell me about your priorities?
29. What would make you a hero?
30. What business books do you like?
31. What drives you crazy?
32. What do you like about…?
33. What do you dislike about…?
34. Who is your competition?
35. Which competitor do you worry about the most?
36. Who is your best supplier and why?
37. What do you want out of a good rep?
38. How do you define an ideal supplier relationship?
39. When are your peak revenue times?
40. Who are your best customers?
41. How can I add value?
42. What else should I know about your business? Why?
43. What can you tell me about your decision-making process?
44. How do you handle budget considerations?
45. What other options are you considering?
46. How will you be evaluating different options?
47. What can you tell me about the people involved in the process?
48. What obstacles do you see that would prevent this project from going forward?
49. How will this project get funded?
50. How much support does this have at the executive level?


Now that you’ve chosen your questions, get out there and try them. After you’ve practiced a few times, come back and review the list again.

At that point, you can add to it or remove questions that don’t suit your style or situation.

Just like anything else, effective selling is an ongoing process and not a one-time event. By constantly upgrading your skills, you increase your chances of success.

For additional information about professional selling skills and sales training programs, consider bringing one of our sales training courses to your organization.