Probing Questions: The Directions To Closing A Sale

Probing questions are like the traffic signs that point you in the direction from your introduction and presentation to your close. The most important part is learning what type of questions to ask and what relevant questions to ask.

Probing Questions

Open-Ended Questions (The Blabbering Questions)

I call open-ended questions the Blabbering question because these are the type of questions that you use to get your prospect to blab and be open. This type of question begs for an answer to be creative long-winded and informative. When you use open-ended questions you must pay attention to every word along with their body language. Most prospects will give what is called a Freudian slip and drop clues that you can use in your close. A Freudian slip is like a subconscious line that they most likely didn’t intentionally want to say but it just slipped out. These slips are generally something they might be holding back behind their buyer resistance since most people don’t want to be sold they want to be bought.
Overall open-ended questions require a long explanation and are a great way to show you are interested in the actual person you are talking to. Never answer for the prospect or make suggestions when you ask open-ended questions.
Examples of Open-Ended Question:
What do you think of the President of the United States?
How do you feel about your new job?


Loaded Questions (Tell me what I want to hear Question)

Loaded question are questions that you ask that lead your customer to answer in a certain way. These type of questions are used to force a judgment on something. Depending on the person but in my opinion I stay away from the negative type of loaded questions but I have seen people be effective using loaded question with a negative tone. Loaded questions cause your customer to think in the tone you put the question in. For instance, if you ask “What are some of the bad experiences you had while using your current service? Although it causes your prospect to think in a negative way about their current service which can lead them to choose your service I personally don’t like to bring up any type of negativity on my own.
Examples Of loaded Questions:
How are you getting on with your new services?
Did you have a good day today?

Probing Questions

Recall Questions (Wake Up And Think Questions)

I like these type of questions since it gets your prospect to snap out of complacency and think a little. So if you ever feel like you are losing your customer and you need to bring them back into the conversation ask a recall question and get their brain off idle. Make sure you ask a relevant question because a question that is irrelevant might have them answer with a nonsense answer. So A recall question is having someone to stop and think of the answer that is coming from their memory. It can be easy as asking what is the spelling of their last name or it can be more thought-provoking as How did you handle the responsibility of becoming an adult?

Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical Questions (Thought Provoking Question)

I know everyone has heard of rhetorical questions but they are mainly used to provoke thought in someone’s mind but not requiring an answer. Most of the time this question doesn’t require an answer since it is probably answered that has been established and would probably seem silly to answer. This question is just made to place an idea in your prospects head. These are used often while public speaking but can be used in a more personal setting a just triggering a nod of the head.
Examples of Rhetorical Questions
You are going to have to drive your car home right?
Could you imagine that your family will be so happy when you bring this new car home?

Close-Ended Questions (Tie Down Questions)

These questions are restrictive questions that only require a word or possibly a phrase. Generally, the answer is in the form of a “Yes” or “No”. These questions are my favorite because they get your customer to agree with you when asked in the form of having a “Yes” response. These questions can create a “Yes” momentum. Which it is said the more “Yes’s” you get your customer to say the more likely will get a “Yes” response when you ask for the sale. These are great and should be used all the time throughout your entire presentation.
Examples of Close-Ended Questions
You are a homeowner correct?
Do you agree that green is your favorite color?


Funneling Questions (Leading Down The Rabbit Hole Questions)

These are a set of questions that are becoming more restricted after each question leading the customer to a direction you want to go. It also can be used the opposite way starting closed-ended and working up to an open-ended question. When starting with a close-ended question and working your way up can be generally used when you first meet someone. This form of questioning tends to relax the customer upon your initial meet. When the questioning goes from open to restricting is generally used to close or tie down your customer.
Examples of funneling Questions
Tell me about your current cable service provider?
What are your favorite cable channels?
Do you usually watch your cable in the evening or afternoon?
Would it be beneficial to get all of your favorite channels plus the ones you want but don’t have for a lower price than you are paying now?

Alternate Choice Questions (Either-Or Questions)

Alternate choice questions are leading questions when you give you customer two options. These are generally used during the close of a sale. You are giving the option between a positive and a positive. Meaning you are not asking if they want your product in the form of getting a “Yes” or “No” answer. You are asking a question in the form of getting a “Yes” or “Yes” Never create an alternate choice question that will lead to a “No”.
Examples of alternate choice questions
Would you want to get this shirt in red or would you prefer black?
When will it be best for us to come tomorrow mornings or afternoons?

In Conclusion: Probing Questions

These 6 types of probing questions are used to extract information so you can get a better idea of what your prospect wants or needs. so you as a professional can give a valued recommendation. Structure your presentation accordingly so that you are not wasting your prospects time and asking random questions but you are asking questions that will lead to helping your customer get exactly what will make them happy. Has any of these questions led you to achieve more sales? If so, How?