Open-Ended Sales Questions Every Digital Agency Should Ask                                        

In the B2B software industry the conversion rate from visitor to lead is 7{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b}, but from visitor to close is only 0.68{735f2e4b65c3f1982e3012daf49d8651419bebdced28f8d40dc0564cadc91c3b}. The lead qualification, nurturing and closing process depends on customer insight.

When you have customer insight you can serve them better and secure sales. And to get this customer insight, you have to ask a lot of questions.

Asking open-ended questions and actively listening to the response allows you to understand the values and needs of your clients, and to build a rapport that ensures you secure a long-term partnership.

An open-ended question offers your client the opportunity to tell you exactly what matters to them.

What is an open-ended question?

An open-ended sales question is a probing question aimed at getting a prospect to talk more about their business, their problems, and their needs and their wants.

These questions allow you to explore the needs of your prospect and helps them to decide if you are able to provide the solution they need.

An open-ended question sounds like this:

“What do you think your biggest challenge will be this year?”

This opens the floor to your prospect to respond.

However, a closed question can stall a conversation and sound confrontational:

“Is there a specific challenge that is holding back your business?”

A prospect can easily answer this with a yes/no.

Open questions tend to start with “what”, “why”, and “how”.

When should you ask open-ended sales questions?

Open-ended questions do three things:

  1. Help you understand a business better
  2. Help you build rapport with a prospect
  3. Help open more meaningful discussions

However, open-ended questions also mean longer conversations will take place and are therefore poor tools for eliciting specific answers from leads.

What are closed-ended sales questions?

Closed-ended questions are designed to get short, specific answers.

For example, “Which option would you like to start with?” is a close-ended question. A prospect can answer it with a single word.

Closed-ended questions typically start with a verb like “are”, “is”, “did”:

  • Is this a good time to talk?
  • Did you get a copy of our latest eBook?
  • Are you interested in learning more about our solution?

Any questions that can be answered with a yes/no are closed questions.

When to use closed questions

Closed-ended questions are valuable for getting quick, exact answers to questions. They are usually used to:

  • Get hard data from a lead (“Which vendor are you using currently?”)
  • Get functional answers (“Can we reschedule this meeting for tomorrow?”)
  • Move the sales process forward (“Are you ready to move forward with this?”)

These questions are used to qualify leads by collecting hard data and they move the sales process forward in later stages.

“False” open-ended questions

Some open-ended questions are actually closed-ended questions, or “false” open questions.

Such as: “Are there any particular issues you want me to address?”

While a client can answer this question with a yes/no, and it is framed in such a way that it doesn’t encourage discussion. Even if the prospect wants to talk more, the “is there?” part of the question makes it hard to give anything other than a yes/no answer.

Remember that open-ended questions are best started with a ‘w’:

  • Who
  • What
  • Why
  • When
  • Where

Asking open-ended questions is the key to securing a client and distinguishing your B2B service or product. Your sales team should be well rehearsed at opening end questions, but not sound robotic or, worse, boring.