Sales Coach Christine Harrington

Types of Questions you should ask in Sales Conversations

Do you focus on one type of question? There’s another type that can actually uncover a deeper answer from the buyer.

Are you making false assumptions because you instinctively “know why” a buyer is looking to buy without asking the buyer? As I’ve said in other articles, this is dangerous.

Do you avoid the deeper questions because it makes you feel uncomfortable?

Is this you? 

Objective Type Question

The typical type of question most salespeople focus on is called an objective question. This type of question flushes out the needs and/or wants of the buyer. In other words, objective questions focus on getting down to the facts. However to nail the sale you need more than just facts.

Consider this…another important type of question to ask.

Perspective Type Question

I call it perspective questions. These questions focus on the perspective of the buyer. Often times the buyer’s perspective reveals feelings and attitudes which is key to the sale. 

Have you ever had a buyer love your product but didn’t buy?

Chances are you didn’t uncover the buyers perspective. For example, maybe your proposal didn’t include viable options. Did you ask the buyer for their opinion of your product? Did you fail to uncover the buyer’s perspective on how your product can integrate into the buyers business?

They may love your product but feel your onboarding isn’t sufficient.

Perspective questions can help uncover difficulties.

Now..I know that’s not something most salespeople want to hear…uncovering difficulties. But wouldn’t you rather deal with a difficulty than lose another sale while scratching your head wondering why?

Asking perspective questions provides answers so you’re NOT derailed!

Car salesmen know this. That’s why you’re offered a “test drive” of the car. They know once you get behind the wheel and “experience the feeling” of driving a $100,000 Tesla the chances of you buying are higher. Of course, you may justify the decision by an objective answer based on facts…”I’ll save so much money driving a Tesla rather than my gas guzzling SUV.” But is that the real reason for buying? 

Personal Tesla Story

A friend of mine just bought a Tesla. Over the phone, he told me about all the savings he will realize by not needing to “gas up”. (Using facts to justify in his mind the cost of the vehicle).

However, when he took me for a ride in his new “hot” car (his description), he foamed at the mouth explaining how fast the car will go from a stopped position. He admitted to me he bought the car because it was fast! (So much for the gas savings justification for buying an expensive car.)

And…I’ve never seen him this excited before so I was thrilled for him. 

BUT did he really buy a Tesla because it will save him money or did he buy a Tesla because of how the car makes him feel?

Keep this in mind with your buyers. They have an opinion, and feelings about your product too. When only uncovering facts, you won’t uncover the rest of the story.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say Sally is one of the decision makers who play it safe. She wants you to think she is showing prudence when actually she is a cautious decision maker. She’s afraid of getting into trouble by making a buying decision bigger than she’s used to. Staying in her lane and out of trouble is her major priority. 

When you ask her why is she staying with the current vendor after expressing unsatisfactory results, this type of “cautious decision maker”  IS NOT going to reveal her real reason which is….

“I’m afraid to make a change because your price is a little more than I’m comfortable approving and it might cause department disruption. I need to stay secure in my position.”

Instead, she tells you a smoke screen story about the long-term relationship she’s had with the current vendor and the results aren’t that bad, and they have amazing service.


As in the example above, buyers often hide or disguise the truth. So when you ask the buyer about their feelings on the sale you need to analyze their answer. Often times the answer may focus on the results. When they do that’s a smokescreen. You need to uncover their business and personal feelings about the sale.

In last week’s article, Are You Confusing Self-Interest as a Win? Results You can Offer (If you haven’t read it, read it now and then come back) the focus was on finding someone in the prospect’s company that can act as a coach. Sally’s example above is a good one to talk through with a coach within the company. This person can give you valuable insight into Sally and may reveal to you that Sally tends to play it “safe.”

If you have a buyer, like Sally, that’s difficult to read, an inside coach can really help you. You can ask the coach “What results should I stress with Sally to make her more comfortable so she can win?”

Remember your goal is helping each decision maker win.

If you need more coaching around decision makers maybe it’s time to schedule a 30-minute complimentary coaching session by completing the form below.

Does this sound like you?

  • Do you have difficulty spotting red flags, gaps and understanding decision makers? 
  • Do you find yourself glancing around looking for answers because you’re in a sales slump and have no idea how to move forward?
  • Do you experience difficulty in finding the right words to use when speaking to a prospect?
  • Is your focus a challenge with difficulty completing tasks with weeks of unproductive selling?

The good news is, I can help.

Simply fill out the form below. In the message section, ask to schedule a 30-minute complimentary Introductory call. We can fix this and other pressing issues you need help with!

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