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Ask the Right Probing Questions to Make Your Sales Strategy More Effective

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Listening might be the most important part of sales. However, to increase the likelihood of selling, you'll also have to ask the right questions, leading the customer to understand their need for your product or service. Sales probing questions will differ in each business and must come from a "consultant point of view". We also make a difference between discovery questions and probing questions, as they have different intensities.

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Ask the Right Probing Questions to Make Your Sales Strategy More Effective
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Difference between Discovery and probing questions

Asking discovery questions (in a discovery call) will be more related to inbound leads. These questions are used to understand why the customer came to you; thus, you will also have an answer to some of their needs. Examples: Why have you signed up with us or started a free trial? Why did you contact us? Etc.

While probing questions are more related to a needs assessment, what questions can you ask to see if they have any underlying needs they don't even know about or aren't addressing at the moment? These questions are more important for you to sell a higher quota and really help the customer to the bone.

Probing questions from a consultant point of view

This means you are simply going to ask how their processes or product purchases are at the moment. Ask as many questions as possible to completely understand their current situation. Once you did this, from your professional point of view and your business point of view, how would you do things differently? What could increase their profit or help them in a certain way?

Do active listening and confirm some of the things they said to ensure you understood everything correctly. As a salesperson, you are completely dependent on this skill and don't want to take this lightly.

Uncover your leads' core needs

You have understood their business process (at least the part your business offers solutions to), and now confirm with them which processes or products are not the best nor most efficient option for them. You are not pitching yet; you're going over their process and products to clarify what you can improve together. However, you can throw some ideas at them or warm them up by making them excited about the products/services you'll be offering them.

Now you have confirmed the exact products and processes which are not the best, but what about everything else they have told you? Are there other processes or products you could help them with? Make touchpoints with those observations you would change to increase their productivity or profit. Maybe you can suggest other weak points in their processes/products without breaking them down. This allows you to help them even more and sell more.

Discovery questions in sales (inbound)

Probing questions in sales