In consultative selling, questions are the tools of the trade, especially when it comes to the discovery stage of the consultative sales process. Just as good tradesman needs to understand their tools, a good sales person needs to understand questions so that they can become more skilled at extracting the information required. Here are 5 key consultative selling questions you should definitely have in your consultative selling tool box.
Why?

Why questions are used to discover reasons. If people ask you for things then it is useful to know why they have asked before responding rather than jumping straight in. That way you can tailor your response.

Example 1

Prospect: “Can you tell me more about your experience in the property sector?”

You: “Of course – I am curious – why do you ask?”

When they ask about specific things, find out why it is important to them.

Example 2

Prospect: “Does any of your team speak French?”

You: “That’s interesting – why is that important?

There are lots of other uses of the why question which, effectively, helps you understand the other person’s reasoning or motives.

Examples

I am curious. We have speaking about this for a while. Why now?

Why is that important to your?

Why do you want to outsource your yyyyyyy department?
What?

What questions are what you use to get most of the details required to understand what the prospect wants and also the current situation. It can be used in a variety of ways to get details.

Examples

What are you trying to achieve?

What is not currently working?

What have you done previously to resolve this problem?

Sometimes people are a little vague with their answers and adding the word “specifically” or “exactly” can help to get more precise details.

Examples

What, specifically, are you trying to achieve?

What, exactly, is not current working?

What, specifically, have you done previously to resolve this problem?

You need to use the words “specifically” and “exactly” sparingly as overuse can come across as a little assertive!
How?

How questions help you discover process type information

Examples

How do you currently acquire new customers?

How will the decision be made?

It can also be used to find information about scale

Examples

How many websites do you currently have in your business?

How long have you been in business?

How big do you want this event to be?
When?

When type questions normally are for asking time related questions.

Examples

When will you be in a position to make a decision?

When do you expect the training course to take place?

When did you last update your website?

When questions are also very useful for referring to time in conjunction to another question

Examples

When you said yyyyyyy, what did you mean specifically?

When guests arrive, will there be any parking?

When we perform the audit, who should we speak to?
Who?

Who questions help to identify the names of people. This is important when dealing with larger organisations or projects that involve many stakeholders.

Examples

Who will be involved in making the decision?

Who will be impacted by this project?

Who will I need to speak to regarding…….?