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6 Questions you need to ask during every sales call

Have you ever spent hours trying to persuade a prospective customer to buy your product, only to discover that they don’t have the budget for it? Or even worse, that they never needed it in the first place? Scenarios like these can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you have sales targets to meet.

While it’s understandable that not every person who expresses interest in your business will turn into a customer, you can save time for everyone involved in the sales process by taking steps to identify your most realistic leads.

Sales qualification is the process of evaluating a prospect to determine if there’s potential for them to turn into a paying customer. During a sales conversation, asking your leads the right questions will help you recognise key prospects early, so you can prioritise their journeys. Qualified leads can even help you build an ideal customer profile, which you can use to improve your marketing efforts.

In addition to the standard set of questions you ask a prospect to understand their business requirements, there are a few important questions you should add to the list. Although these questions are not tailored to any specific industry, they can be a great starting point for any B2B and B2C businesses that are attempting to filter and prioritise a pool of prospects.

1. What’s the one main goal you’re trying to accomplish with this purchase?

There can be a bunch of different reasons why someone is interested in your business. Some may want to cut down their costs, while others could be interested in switching to a different product to improve their current business operation. The reason usually varies from business to business. Instead of making an assumption about why someone wants your product, it’s always best to ask the lead directly. Their response will give you an idea of their overall expectations and help you lead the call by addressing relevant pain points.

2. “Do you have a budget range in mind for this purchase? This will help us give you better suggestions that may fit your requirement.”


Money is a tricky subject. You want to avoid coming across as a mercenary, but at the same time, you don’t want to invest in a prospect who could never afford your products. The right way to talk about budget is by starting the call with introductory questions and bringing the topic up once you’re ready to elaborate on your offering. Remember, just as much as you’d be keen to know your prospect’s budget, they would also be curious to know your quote. Instead of beating around the bush and pushing the topic to your next call, be upfront and get a rough estimate on what they can afford.

3. “Are you evaluating any other products at the moment?”

The answer to this question will clearly tell you what you’re competing against. This information is crucial because it lets you know if you already have the upper hand in this deal or if you should make a better offer to sway your prospect to your side. You can take this chance to politely state some facts on why you’re better than your competitors and what value customers get by choosing your business over others.

4. “Are there any more people involved in the decision-making process?”

Unless it’s a small organisation, it’s likely that the person you’re talking to was assigned to do some initial research for the product. If that’s the case, suggest scheduling a group meeting so you can address the decision makers directly. Talking to the right people will give you better chances of closing the deal—and it will save time. Alternatively, if you know how many others are involved in the process and their roles, you can modify your pitch to provide your contact with the materials they’ll need to convince their supervisors.

5. “How soon are you hoping to make this purchase?”

This is another great question to help you learn how interested someone is in your business. If a prospect is serious about finding a solution, they are likely to give you a fixed timeline on when they intend to make the purchase. If they don’t, ask them if you can follow up with them on a specific date. That will give them some additional time to consider their decision. If they don’t seem very keen on that idea, it’s time to give them some space and wait for them to get back to you. Sometimes, business decisions can take a while. Especially in a volatile economic market, business priorities change so frequently that what’s important on one day can become less so the next. In such situations, it’s best to focus on prospects looking for a solution now rather than those intending to purchase in the long run.

6. “Do you mind sharing what’s stopping you from making this purchase?”

Sometimes, even when a client appears very invested in your business, they’ll keep you waiting for a commitment. When you feel that you’ve done all you can to convince the customer, and they still hesitate, it is helpful to identify the underlying reason. Only when you get a definitive answer on what’s been stopping them can you provide them with a solution that will convince them to purchase.

Here’s why we, at Zoho, think this is a crucial question:

“Sometimes, the person talking to our sales team will have limited technical knowledge. And so they’ll struggle to explain and convince their teammates how and why our products can benefit their business. In such cases, our team offers a detailed presentation to help them convince the board. Quite often, this helps us close the deal. But this would only be possible if we ask for the genuine reason for the delay,”

-Thilakraj V, Zoho ANZ Enterprise Sales, 12+ years experience selling software


Source: Zoho


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