12 Best Questions to Ask on a Sales Call

2023-07-03

Mastering the art of the sales call is a lifetime journey for many. The evolving nature of customer needs and expectations, along with a constantly changing business landscape, forces us to be continually learning and exploring opportunities for improvement. Knowing how to elicit the response(s) that you want from the person on the other end is an essential skill for all sales reps at every point in their career. 

That comes in knowing what to ask—you can’t just expect people to suddenly dump their needs, pain points, and expected resolutions on you just because you called. You have to lead the conversation and help them figure out how your business can serve them. 

Another option is to let the experts handle it—outsource to a team like Smith.ai for support with outreach campaigns, including sales calls and more. 

Of course, your team should still be able to handle the call if it comes their way. Here are 12 questions that will ensure your sales calls go in the right direction. 

#1 – What is the problem your business is trying to solve?

This is a basic discovery call question that should be asked on every new sales call. Figuring out what they are currently struggling with and why that’s brought them to you (or caused you to find them) is essential. It will help you lead the sales call in the right direction as you continue to gather information. 

#2 – May I ask some questions about your business?

You can also frame this as, “Tell me about your company,” or another similar phrase. The point is that you’re showing interest in what they do. That proves that you care about them and aren’t just trying to sell something. It also gives your sales reps the chance to learn valuable information about prospects and their organizations. 

#3 – What are your company’s goals for the next [X] months/years/etc.?

This question is simple, but it still forces the prospect to think about what they’ve got planned and how that could benefit from your product or service. You don’t want to ask two-part questions or overly complex inquiries. Those will only serve to confuse your prospect and then you won’t get any meaningful information. 

#4 – What are your biggest pain points?

This is the million-dollar discovery question, isn’t it? It’s an essential part of every sales call and it gives you an opportunity to find every potential place you could assist the prospect. You likely already have an idea of your solution when you’re making the call, but finding out how you can apply that solution in the best ways will help you guide the rest of the conversation (and sales journey). 

#5 – How does your company evaluate the products/services it chooses?

This is usually a question for later in the conversation once you’ve established a bit of trust. However, it’s a great way to find out what you can do to win their business. This will allow them to tell you what factors they consider, their priorities, and other relevant details. 

#6 – Let’s talk about your average day – how would this solution have a positive impact?

This is another question that forces prospects to really think about your product or service and what they could gain from it. They will be able to point out the exact tasks or time-consuming duties that are costing them valuable resources and profits. Then, they will see the benefit of your solution in practical application, taking them from a curious prospect to a qualified lead with just one question. 

#7 – What are the biggest barriers in finding a solution?

In almost every case, you’re not the first company to reach out to a prospect about a particular problem they’re having. Therefore, it can help you in several ways to ask this question. First, you find out what’s been holding them back. Secondly, it gives you a chance to deliver your unique value proposition to drive home that you are the best choice. 

#8 – Is there anyone else I need to speak with about this or other needs?

This question ensures that:

  • You’re not talking to the wrong person
  • You get to the decision-maker faster
  • You show interest in involving all parties with a vested interest

You can also use this question towards the end of your call to segue into the follow up or next steps, which is a helpful way to move things forward. 

#9 – What are the priorities for your company in the short-term?

You’ve already asked about goals for the longer term, but you also need to know what the current priorities are and how those impact what you have to offer. Find out what the prospect has prioritized in terms of finding solutions or solving pain points, as well as where your product or service factors into that list. 

#10 – What would a successful outcome look like?

Again, this forces the prospect to think about actual implementation of the solution. That gives them more theoretical ownership over the product or service, which makes it easier to turn them into a qualified lead. It also helps you get an idea of where you need to end up so that you can create a strategy to get there. 

#11 – What’s your timeline for implementation/resolution?

Your sense of urgency needs to match theirs. By asking what their timeline looks like, you’ll know how quickly (or not) they’re looking to move through the sales funnel and get to the resolution or implementation stage. 

#12 – Can I follow up with you on [date/time]?

While you could just ask when a good time to follow up would be, that doesn’t force your prospect to commit. It gives them the chance to say things like:

“I’ll get back to you.” 

“Can I have my assistant email you?”

“Let me check my schedule and let you know.” 

Basically, you’re giving them the opportunity to stall or avoid the follow-up altogether. If you give a specific date and time, that encourages them to respond with a better one if yours doesn’t fit their schedule. 

Let someone else ask the questions for you

If you’re like most businesses, you’re busy enough as it is. You probably don’t have a lot of free time for sales calls and outreach. That’s okay because you don’t have to do it alone. With the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai, you can get a dedicated team of experts to assist with outreach campaigns, appointment scheduling, and lead intake. Plus, we can act as your 24/7 answering service to ensure every prospect gets the attention they deserve. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Tags:
Business Education
Sales Tips
Written by Samir Sampat
Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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