These closing questions for sales professionals can help improve conversions

Have you ever wondered why some salespeople close more deals than others? You might say it’s because of personality traits, levels of experience, or overall expertise. While those factors are important, there’s one defining characteristic that separates “master sales professionals” from just “salespeople.”

It’s the ability to ask the right questions at the right time.

High performing sales professionals seek to understand and educate their prospects by asking questions. They’re allowing the customer to speak their minds, express their feelings, and ultimately reveal their pain points.

Finally, closing questions for sales are always framed so that it’s easy to say “yes.” Whether it’s a “yes” to buy, to set an appointment, or permission to continue a dialogue, it doesn’t matter. Closing questions can help great salespeople move a deal forward.

Defining closing questions for sales practices

The only way to close a deal is to be direct and question whether or not the prospect is ready to buy. There’s no way around it. Unless he asks you, “can I purchase right now?” you’ll have to do the asking for him.

Here’s the main issue: focusing on how to ask rather than when to ask.

Closing works for those who build up to it. 95% of the sales process is not “selling” at all. It’s developing and nurturing trust with your customer, understanding his pain points, and educating him on how your product or service can fulfill his wants and needs.

Throughout that process, you can ask pointed questions to gauge where the customer stands about making a purchase decision. This “gauging” technique is called a “trial question.”

Depending on your customer’s answers, you’ll be able to figure out how to proceed. When he clearly expresses a positive cue to buy the product, it’s time ask for the sale.

It’s not magic. It’s not manipulation. It’s just guidance. You walk the customer from cold to warm to hot. Then you close.

Most salespeople focus on the end goal (making the sale) rather than the journey to get there. This mindset usually makes the sales process difficult because they rush to the finish, long before the customer is ready to make a decision. However, when you arrive at the finish in good fashion, asking for the sale is the easiest part.

5 essential closing questions for sales practice and mastery

So, how do you ask the right questions at the right time, and what are these three secret questions?

Although there are many questions and templates you can learn from and practice with, what matters most is that you understand their makeup and purposes. Here’s a breakdown of the characteristics that allow these closing questions for sales professionals to work:

  • They’re open-ended. (Can’t be answered with a simple yes or no.)
  • Seek to create dialogue with the customer.
  • Aim to elicit emotional responses, not logical.
  • Flexible enough to be used in a variety of situations.
  • Framed in such a manner that makes it easy for the customer to say YES.

Also, in order to make these questions more effective, it’s best to follow these simple rules:

  • Always state the customer’s name before asking the question.
  • Always repeat back to the customer what they’ve stated as the problem they’re trying to solve.

1. Ask for their opinion

“Mary, thanks for sharing your struggles/story about _____. I can see how that could cause a lot of stress, given the situation. May I ask your opinion on something? Do you feel our services suit your needs? How can we help you?”

Everyone loves to be asked to express their opinions. It shows that the person listening holds the speaker’s feelings and point of view in high regard. This type of question can be used in a variety of ways and at different points in the sales process.

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Instead of following up with, “How do you feel we can best serve you?”, you may ask, “How would you feel if I offered you a discounted rate on our services?” or “What can we do to make you feel comfortable about purchasing?”

2. Ask, “If I could ____,  how would you ____?”

“Mike, that’s an excellent point you made about ______. It sounds like you need extra time to consider our policy agreements. If I could walk you through and explain the terms in an easy and timely manner, how would you feel about making a decision with us today?” 

Sometimes the best closing questions for sales are simple templates. The basic idea here is you’re providing a solution to their problem. You can utilize this template at the end of a sale (above example) or towards the beginning or middle.

You’re giving a reason for the potential customer to consider further options. This template comes in handy especially when you know their pain points. You can address those issues directly and ask, in less blunt terms, “If I made your problems disappear, how would you feel about moving forward?”

3. Ask for a chance, not a certainty

“Heather, thanks for taking the time to express your concerns for ____. You’ve made it clear that we can help you achieve your desired outcomes. Based on our conversation so far, how do you feel about giving us a chance to do business?”

You don’t always have to ask for a direct sale. Sometimes closing questions for sales are best offered in a softer way. In the example above, the salesperson is asking for the sale, but lightening the load for her customer by asking how they would feel about the possibility of doing business.

You’re giving the customer a reason to say yes. Nobody likes to feel pressured to buy – not consumers, business owners, CEO’s, or Wall Street brokers. But if you can communicate the benefits of your product and ask for a chance to show you’re the right decision, it’s likely going to result in “yes.”

4. Identify fears and solve them

“Henry, I appreciate your willingness to share and discuss your experiences thus far. May I ask your opinion on something? If I could provide you a discounted rate for the first, lowering the initial cost, how would you feel about giving us a shot at your business?

If the potential customer took a moment of silence after you told him the price of your service and then sounded disinterested for the rest of your pitch, this question is a great way to bring their focus back. Listen to the body language, or “phone language” during sales calls to identify these opportunities.

5. Assign a date for the next step.

“Jack, it sounds like we’re ready to seal the deal. I’ll get together a proposal with your suggestions over to you this afternoon. Are you available at 10am next Tuesday for the kickoff meeting?”

It’s easy to end a call with every ball up in the air, especially when you’re sending over a proposal that you’ll most likely be waiting on for a day, a week, or longer. How many times have you written a proposal for a client you knew was ready to sign that day, and then disappeared after the heat of your conversation was over? Get on his calendar while you still have him on the phone and set a date for the next step.

Remember: the journey directly affects the result

It’s easy to assume you can memorize these closing questions for practice. But that won’t do you any good.

The next time you find yourself following up with a lead, make the decision to forget about the sale for a while – just let it go. Focus on getting your prospect to share their pain points by asking the right questions. Create your own questions by keeping the characteristics mentioned earlier in mind.

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client-managerHow would you feel if all the hours put into following up with leads were cut in half or less? Manage your leads efficiently and start an automatic follow-up process. Sign up with Blitz today for a 30-day free trial.

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What’s your opinion on asking the right questions? Do you have a question to add to the list? Give a shout and continue the conversation in the comments!