Open and closed ended questions in sales conversation

Open and closed ended questions

Open and closed ended questions seem simple, open questions give the person you are asking the opportunity to answer freely. Closed questions often give the person you are asking only a few options. But using open and closed questions in a sales conversation is an art not everyone masters. We will therefore go in depth on how to use these to guide the sales process in the direction you want.

Open-ended questions

An open question is questions that can not be answered with only a “yes” or “No”. Open-ended questions are formulated in such a way that the people who answer have 100% freedom to answer anything. When you ask open-ended questions, you can dive deep into the answers to the customer, the customers give answers to answer open-ended questions and provide important information in what the customer thinks about the product to be sold.

In a sales call you use this information to steer the call in the right direction, it is natural to start the sales call with open-ended questions to get to know the customer better.

The advantages of open-ended questions are that other parties have time and opportunity to reflect on the question that is being said and this is how a good dialogue with the customer arises. There are words like what, who, how, where or why that raise open questions. A good salesperson must be able to understand the customer’s situation, understand the problem and apply what is being said into their pitch.

Close-ended questions

Closed questions can be defined as questions that can only be answered with a few options, often either yes/no or even maybe. The answers you get here are more specific and in relation to open questions, closed questions often belong a little later in the sales conversation after you have mapped the customer’s needs.

When you ask closed questions, you can quickly get a lot of good information and you can always follow up with an open question that we mentioned earlier, or vice versa. The best sellers manage to use a good mix of both open and closed questions to get the most out of the sales process and in the end better results.

How can you use open ended and closed ended questions to increase your sales success rate?

Sales questions can be broadly classified into two types – open-ended and closed-ended questions. As the name suggests, open-ended questions are the ones that cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. These kinds of questions encourage your prospects to elaborate on their answers, which gives you more information to work with. On the other hand, closed-ended questions can be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and they are usually used to get specific information from your prospects.

Using a mix of both open-ended and closed-ended questions is the best way to increase your sales success rate. By starting with open-ended questions, you can get a better understanding of your prospect’s needs and pain points. This information can then be used to tailor your sales pitch and offer solutions that are more likely to address their needs. Closed-ended questions can be used later on in the conversation to get more specific information about their requirements, budget, etc.

Here are some examples of open-ended and closed-ended questions that you can use in your sales conversations:

Open-ended questions:

  • · What led you to look for a solution like this?
  • · What are some of the challenges you’re facing with your current setup?
  • · Could you elaborate on that a little bit?
  • · How do you think our solution can help you achieve your goals?

Closed-ended questions:

  • · Are you looking for a short-term or long-term solution?
  • · Do you have a budget in mind for this project?
  • · Would you be interested in scheduling a demo of our product?
  • · When would you be ready to make a purchase?

Which type of question should you ask in different situations, and why?”

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the type of question you should ask in any given situation depends on many factors, including your relationship with the person you’re asking, the nature of the situation, and what you hope to accomplish by asking a question. However, in general, it’s often best to ask open-ended questions rather than closed-ended questions, as they tend to encourage a more thoughtful and comprehensive response. Additionally, it’s usually more productive to ask questions that are specific and relevant to the current situation, rather than general or hypothetical questions. Finally, it’s often helpful to frame your questions in a way that shows you’re genuinely interested in the other person’s perspective, rather than looking to start an argument or prove a point.

Get feedback from others on how well you used open ended and closed-ended questions in a sale situation

If you’re not sure how to frame a question in a way that shows you’re genuinely interested in the other person’s perspective, you can ask for feedback from others. For example, you might say, “I’m trying to make sure I’m asking the right types of questions in sales situations. Can you give me some feedback on how well I’m doing?” This will help to ensure that you’re using the most effective questions possible in order to get the information you need.

Summary:

We have been through that open questions give other parties the opportunity to reflect on the question and that this leads to a good dialogue with the customer. By using open-ended questions, you get a lot of valuable information on who the customer is and what matters. Closed questions give you quick and concrete answers, they are nice to use if you are in doubt about where you have the customer or if there is something you want to clarify clearly. Closed questions give the other party a limited choice of answer options, usually yes, no, maybe or do not know.

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