How to Discover the Prospect's Needs - Wants - Desires

    Stage 2 of the Proven Sales Process

    Sales questioning techniques that make it easy to discover the prospect's Needs - Wants - Desires with a relaxed, structured, interactive conversation.

    And that means you have all the information you need to create a great sales offer customised for them.

    This is Stage 2 of the 4 Stage sales process...

    Slide from the sales training course Selling Success

    You've given a great introduction in stage 1 of the 4 stage sales process, now you want to discover what your prospect needs, wants, or desires.

    A good Questioning Stage will make the discovery process a pleasant discussion and prevent the common mistake of it becoming an interrogation. 

    Good questioning techniques get your prospects talking about what is important to them and what they want from your products and services.

    On this page you'll learn proven sales questioning techniques of the Questioning Funnel to structure and organise the questions you ask.

    Follow this sales training and your prospects will write your Sales Presentation for you. 

    The Questioning Stage is the 2nd of the 4 stages of the sales process I use to train sales teams. You can see the other stages of the process by following the connections on this page. 

    The Sales Questioning Funnel 

    The Funnel includes the best sales questioning techniques I have come across in my long sales career and they  work in face to face meetings and on telesales calls,

    This is a way to get prospects talking freely on a wide topic related to your sales meeting or call, and then take the topic down the funnel to get more specific information.  At the end of the Questioning Funnel you have a nice neat package of information that you can use in your Sales Presentation, the next stage of the Sales Process. 

    You can start as many funnels as you need with Wide Open Questions on different topics. These sales questioning techniques will change your approach and dispel the old  practice of using Open Questions starting with Who, What, Where, When & How to start a conversation. 

    'Whether you're asking a couple of quick questions for a simple sale, or need a long list of information for a complex product or service,  I highly recommend you use this sales questioning funnel.'

    Sales Questioning Techniques Used in the Funnel

    Slide from the sales training course Selling Success

    The sales questioning techniques used in the Funnel start with Wide Open Questions, conversation starters.

    They give the prospect a wide scope within which to frame their responses and the freedom to answer openly.

    They are great sales questioning techniques to start a conversation, even the low responders will give you the information you need.

    When they have answered your Wide Open Questions you can keep the conversation going with an open question, which has a slightly narrower focus.

    Then the questions get more specific as the Sales Questioning Funnel narrows and you use Alternative and Closed Questions. Learn more about the types of questions and how to use them...

    Wide Open Questions 

    Wide Open Questions start with a phrase that encourages the prospect to respond with several sentences or more of information. They encourage longer and better responses than old fashioned Open Questions and make it difficult to answer with just one or a few words.  Examples of openings for wide open sales questioning techniques:

    Tell me about... Explain the... Describe the... Give me your thoughts on...

    And there are many more conversation starters you can add to the list that will get your prospects talking. You simply add the topic you want them to tell you about to the opening, conversation promoting phrase. The scope of the question and the answers are controlled by the topic you add. 

    Open Questions

    The Wide Open Question has generated a response that has given you information that you want to explore further. Now you use Open Questions, the Who - What -  Where -  When - How questions, to gain more information.

    The Open Questions slightly narrow the boundaries within which the responses from the prospect will sit, allowing you to focus on a particular part of the response they have given you. You can see how the sales questioning techniques of the funnel start to narrow and target parts of the responses to the previous tier of questions.

    Specific Open Questions

    A Specific Open Question is formed by starting with  Who - What -  Where -  When - How  and adding a phrase to make the open question focus on specific information on the topic you are questio ning .

    For example: What colour, Which type, How many. Then the topic of the question is added to clearly define what is being asked: What colours would you like on the interior upholstery? 

    These questions are sometimes called Leading Questions because they lead the prospect to a specific area of a topic.

    Alternative and Closed Questions

    At the narrow end of the Questioning funnel you ask Alternative Questions, requiring the prospect to choose usually one of two options, and Closed Questions that gain a Yes or No response. 

    Example of an Alternative Question: You said you would like a dark read upholstery, would that be crimson or maroon?  Example of a Closed Question: When you say dark red, are you thinking burgundy?

    These narrow questions give you the specific, fine detail on the prospect's wants, needs, and desires. Now you have a clear picture of what you need to present to the prospect in the Presentation Stage. If there are further topics to explore, start another funnel with another Wide Open Question and use the same sales questioning techniques

    Increase Sales by Becoming an Expert on Sales Questioning Techniques 

    The sales questioning funnel will give you many benefits. The accurate and comprehensive information it gives you lets you present to prospects the best solutions, proposals, products, and options. And that means you will close more sales and get more customers. 

    I recommend this technique in all the sales training I write and present to teams and businesses in a wide range of sectors. 

    Learn to use the Sales Questioning Techniques of the Funnel

    The sales questioning techniques of the funnel are so important that  there are over 50 pages on the Questioning Stage included in my sales training course Selling Success

    20 of those pages are on how to create your sales funnel for your sales role.

    Selling Success is the course I have written and developed while managing and training sales teams for large businesses throughout my 25 year career.  Everything in the course, including the Questioning Stage, has been tested and proven by working sales professionals.

    In the course you get a step by step guide on:

    • Which questions to ask
    • Common mistakes to avoid
    • How to use a Sales Funnel
    • Organising the information you discover
    • And how to gain agreement to a summary of the information

    The summary is a key element of the sales closing technique that is woven into the sales process presented in the course. This makes closing the sale  simple as you have already gained so much agreement.

    Whether you sell face to face or by telephone, and no matter how complex or simples your products and services are, you will want to see what this sales training course can give you at Selling Success

    The Other Stages of the Sales Process 

    The Questioning Stage is the 2nd of the 4 sales stages. 

    You can see sales training on the other stages at:

    The  Sales Introduction

    The Sales Presentation Stage

    The Closing Stage 

    To view an overview of how all the stages work together visit the page on the:  Sales Process

    1. Homepage
    2. The Sales Process
    3. Sales Questioning Techniques

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    Return to top of page
    What are the 4 types of questioning techniques in sales?
    In summary, the sequence of asking these 4 types of questions is meant to 1) understand the current situation, 2) uncover the problems and/or pain points from the current situation, 3) enable the buyer to understand the impact of the problems, and 4) help the customer see the value in your solutions. more
    What is global warming very short answer type question?
    “Global warming is a gradual increase in the earth's temperature generally due to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, CFCs, and other pollutants. “ more
    What is the most effective type of research question?
    In general, however, a good research question should be: Clear and focused. In other words, the question should clearly state what the writer needs to do. Not too broad and not too narrow. more
    What is Type I Type II Type III error?
    Type I error: "rejecting the null hypothesis when it is true". Type II error: "failing to reject the null hypothesis when it is false". Type III error: "correctly rejecting the null hypothesis for the wrong reason". more
    What is descriptive type question?
    Descriptive question are questions such as “Who is Columbus?”, “What is tsunami?”, or “Why is blood red?”, which need answer that contain the definitional information about the search term, explain some special phenomenon. (i.e. chemical reaction) or describe some particular events. more
    What is an official ITIL 4 question type?
    To earn the ITIL Foundation certification, you must correctly answer 26 questions on a 40 question multiple-choice exam (65%). Each question will include 4 possible answers from which you must provide the best answer to the question. more
    What type of question asks two things in a single question?
    A double-barreled question (sometimes, double-direct question) is an informal fallacy. It is committed when someone asks a question that touches upon more than one issue, yet allows only for one answer. more
    What type of question is gender?
    Gender survey questions are one of the various types of survey questions, which are most commonly asked in surveys. Previously, only male and female options used to appear in such questions, however with so many policies coming in to place and with people accepting their genders freely, there are many more options. more
    What is short type question?
    In a short answer question, the student types in a word or phrase in response to a question (that may include an image). Answers may or may not be case sensitive. The answer could be a word or a phrase, but it must match one of your acceptable answers exactly. more
    What type of question is a yes or no?
    Yes / No questions are also called closed questions because there are only two possible responses: Yes or No. When forming a Yes / No question, it must include one of these verbs: BE, DO, HAVE, or a modal verb. more
    What type of question is a yes or no question?
    closed question A Yes/No question is a closed question, meaning that it has one of two answers, yes or no. It asks whether something is true or not, i.e., whether the original positive sentence is valid. A question element needs to precede the subject in order to form this question. more


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