Asking the Hard Questions


Questions come naturally, most of the time.  However, the important questions are always the hard questions to ask. Let’s say you have the prospects attention on the phone, in your showroom, or at your sales counter. This is your opportunity to gather more information to increase your chances of winning the sale. We’re experts in asking the hard questions.

Take this opportunity to understand how the prospect found you, the reasons for approaching your company, what they are seeking, when they are looking at buying, and on what basis they will make a decision.

Finding out how the prospect found you is extremely important for a variety of reasons. Did they respond to a form of advertising, did they find you on a search engine, or were they referred to you by one of your existing clients? It’s important to find out what form of advertising they responded to. This gives you an idea as to what type of marketing is working for you.

 Search engines

Search engines, we love them. They are a necessity to everyday life and our business. Most importantly they find out what search terms they put in to find our business. This gives you an idea of what was on their mind when they were looking for you.

Word of Mouth

 Referrals, the best compliment one can receive. It is good to know who keeps continually referring you. You may wish to acknowledge the referrer, and it’s a good talking point with the prospects. It helps break down those barriers and builds a rapport. You will often find that the success rates on referrals is higher than from other sources of leads.

In the end

Asking a client what brings them into your showroom is a great way of narrowing down what their area of interest is, it is the first part of the questioning and qualifying process. Once you know what they are seeking specifically, you can continue to ask them more questions to further hone in on their needs.

 It is appropriate to ask the client further questions to find out when they will buy, how they will be paying, what is important to them in respect to the specifications of the product, what colour, and what design preferences they have.

Some other questions that help in getting even closer to the client include:
  1. Past products or designs have they seen/considered
  2. What they have liked about these past particular designs 
  3. What else these designs offered that made them so attractive

 These certain questions will give you a broad idea of what the client’s general agenda is. Finding out the clients time frame is another crucial aspect in sales, there is no point in offering the prospect a product or service that is not available when it is required.

 Finally, we need to ask the important question we all dread. Although, you can do it very discreetly and nonchalantly. It’s done as simply by asking, on what basis will you be making a decision? The reason is to establish if they are quality buyers or purely basing a decision on price. This once again, allows you to hone in the correct product offering. As you can see, great questioning skills are the key to winning even more, sales inquiries. As you are really connecting with the prospect and finding out what it will take to win their business!


George Manolis is a speaker and author who delivers public and in-house training programs in sales all around Australia – you can contact him on 1300 791 571 or via email:

Copyright © George Manolis 2011