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Selling Skills

The 2 Most Important Types of Questions You Can Ever Ask to Build Sales

When the phone rang, I knew the person on the other end wasn’t a professional sales person as soon as he said,

“Hi this is name with company, how are you doing today?”

I didn’t know him, didn’t have time to tell him how I was doing today and really, did he actually care? Why would he care?

More than that, he didn’t give me a reason to want to talk to him or tell him anything.

But I stayed on the phone just to learn more about what not to do when prospecting.

“Great!” I said.

“Great, great,” he said (apparently two greats is better than one). “The reason for my call is that I represent name as I said and we have 3 different ways to help you contact your important leads and what businesses do you approach when you’re trying to sell to new leads?”

I am not making this up though at this point I couldn’t stand it so I disengaged. The thing is that too many sales people do this same thing (okay, maybe not as bad as a company selling leads not knowing what leads I might need or even what I did) but still too many people call without:

•knowing anything about the company/person they’re calling
•knowing how the callee might benefit from the service/product being provided
•wanting to make a sale rather than build a relationship
•being prepared with meaningful questions to start an authentic conversation

Two types of questions
Fact based questions are provide immediate factual, qualifying information. In the hospitality industry, for instance, questions like:

-What dates are you looking at for the event?
-How many people do you expect?
-What other hotels have you used in the past?

provide you, the seller with needed information to move the sale forward.

Fact based questions, however, are not, not, not (did I mention not?) the first type of questions that should ever be asked.


They’re all about selling to a qualified lead rather than helping the qualified lead want to buy from you. They are the 2nd type of question you need to be prepared to ask, after the first type.

High achieving sales people thoughtfully prepare conversation starter questions – questions that focus on the buyer and help them want to engage in a meaningful conversation.

Questions like:

In your experience, is A or B preferred by your delegates?
In my experience, I’ve found X. Have you found this to be true for you your team as well or is it something else that is more important to you?
In working with your colleagues, they often mention X. Is this something that helps you create success or is this less important to the success of your event?

When you throw in a bit of authentic curiosity when asking conversation starter questions, you earn the right to a genuine and meaningful conversation.

Without both of these types of questions, it’s hard to make a sale. It’s knowing which to use first and unless you start with the 2nd type though, you may never get the answers you want to the first.

Prospecting to build sales can be easy and fun when learning comes before selling.

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