Good salespeople spend 20% of their time talking to customers, and the other 80% of their time listening to their customers. Great salespeople do this as well, but with a slight distinction - they ask better questions. Asking powerful questions of your customers can open up doors to new opportunities, as well as give you better insight into how you can help your customers succeed. Here are a couple of examples to get you thinking:

1. What would you like to accomplish in our meeting today?

This is a great question, as it sets the table for what your customer would like you to address. I often see salespeople jump right in with their personal agenda, and miss opportunities because of it.

2. Assuming you decide to purchase my product/service, what needs to happen over the next 3 months for it to be an outstanding value to you?

This is a powerful question, as the answer will tell you exactly what your customer is looking for from you. Now you have a roadmap for success!

3. Who are the 3 most powerful people in your company, and why?

This one will get you right to the decision makers. Nothing is more important to a salesperson than knowing who controls the purse strings.

4. Who are the 3 most successful people you know, and why do you consider them successful?

If you want to know what someone's definition for success is, use this question. This is powerful for two reasons - now you know how they view success, and you also have 3 people that you can ask to be referred to.

Now that you have seen some examples, I challenge you to come up with some of your own. Keep in mind that powerful questions usually generate powerful answers. So, next time you are on a sales call, utilize some powerful questions, and make your customers think!

Happy Selling!

Author's Bio: 

Tom Kelly is a Professional Business Coach that specializes in working with small business owners, entrepreneurs, and salespeople. He can be reached at (773) 907-0921, or at

Copyright © Tom Kelly, Potential In Motion, Inc.TM 2004