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Crucial sales probing questions to discover prospect needs

Financial decisions are always risky; so you research, explore various options and think before investing your dollars in a product. Similarly, your buyers are also very cautious before choosing a solution for their business.

They won’t buy from you till you give them a strong reason to invest their precious dollars. The only way to seal the deal is by understanding the buyer’s needs.

77% of executive buyers felt that salespeople did not understand their issues or know how to help them.

It is necessary to diagnose the illness for finding a cure. 70% of purchasing decisions are made to solve a specific problem. Learning each prospect business pain points, competitors, decision criteria, and expectations are crucial to winning businesses.

Get past the mechanics of selling and focus solely on the buyers. Don’t beat around the bush; find out what they want by framing direct questions.

“Become a creative thinking detective! Ask probing questions. There is no such thing as a wasted question” – Elaine Dundon

Sales probing questions: The fastest route to reach your prospects needs

Probing questions is the most effective strategy to unearth the buyer’s needs and present your solution in a customer-focused way for influencing a purchasing decision.

Don’t hesitate while questioning your prospects; be curious and show sincere interest in the sales prospect’s business problems.

“Until you understand your customers, deeply and genuinely, you cannot serve them truly” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

Here are a few probing questions that you should be asking your prospects to unlock their needs:

1. Fact-finding questions

Gathering concrete facts about the buyer is essential for completing the sales journey successfully. Understand what’s important to your prospects

Fact-finding is tricky; too many questions can hamper your credibility. So, be smart and research to collect the basic facts for demonstrating that you have done your homework before connecting.


  • What is their business background?
  • What are they trying to achieve?
  • Who are their competitors?

For finding the rest of the facts, you can ask probing questions like:

  • What is your business goal?
  • What do you plan to accomplish in the next year?
  • Did you achieve last year’s goals?
  • What is your most urgent priority?

There are many tools available to keep these facts safe. Like you can use sales CRM software to keep your prospect’s information organized. Everything you need is systematically stored in one place.

Moreover, modern CRM software is powered by the built-in virtual phone system. So, you can seamlessly make and receive calls from your CRM, take notes of all these answers and record your calls to ensure you do not miss any crucial details mentioned by your potential prospect.

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2. Problem questions

To help your customers, you will have to understand and address their most painful business problems. Example: People can’t remember everything said by the customer, and there are chances of misplacing written notes.

So, Evernote understood the problem and came up with a solution that helped people in easily collecting, creating and storing everything that matters. It smartly targeted the exact problem with an impactful tagline “Meet Evernote, your anywhere access notepad.”


For targeting the problem, you first need to find them by asking questions like:

  • What’s your greatest business challenge at present?
  • What difficulties did you face in addressing it in the past?
  • Are you using any product or service for overcoming this business challenge?
  • Do you feel you are spending a lot than required on that specific solution?

By uncovering the business challenges and knowing which competitor’s product your potential prospects are using, you will be able to find out the gaps in the offering. This will help in explaining to the buyers how your product is better from the ones they are already using.

3. Current Situation questions

It is essential to know what is happening in the potential buyer’s world. Find out what is the current situation of the prospects. 

Understand how they are managing various processes, and what is holding them back from succeeding. It is difficult to persuade a prospect if you don’t know who they really are and what they are going through currently. 

Understand how your potential buyers want things to be and what they are doing to get there. 

Here are a few questions you can ask your prospects 

What project are you currently working on?

What process re your following to manag[highlight a specific area]?

Are you looking for any improvement in [the specific area]?

You can use the SPIN Selling Methodology to understand the prospect’s current situation and problems. 

4. Follow-up questions

Follow-up questions don’t only acquaint you with a wealth of information but also conveys the message that you are attentively listening to your buyers.

Dig deeper into the problem and get to the source of the pain. Like if a prospect speaks about the business issue, then you try to find the reason by asking questions like why is that happening. Once the prospect shares the reason, then ask further how it is impacting their business.

Be as specific as possible while asking a follow-up question. If a prospect says I am looking for a customized solution, then ask questions like –

  • Why are you emphasizing on a customized solution?
  • How will customization help you?
  • Have you used a customizable solution before?

The idea is to get to the heart of their needs with meaningful follow-up questions.

5. Thought-provoking questions

Effective questioning gets you what you want; you need to present it wisely. Capture your buyer’s interest with thought-provoking questions. Present facts, statistics, and information that will change the buyer’s perspective and provide important matters to ponder over.

Questions like-

  • Are you aware of (interesting fact)?
  • Did it impact your business?
  • Have you thought about innovative tactics?

Such questions will help in setting an impression that you know about what’s happening in their industry and are genuinely interested in helping by understanding how it is affecting them.

6. Purchasing process questions

The purchasing process helps you in understanding what you need to do for converting the deal. To avoid any complications while closing the deal, you need to find out who has the buying authority and what their spending capacity is.

Ask questions like-

  • Can you brief your decision-making process?
  • Besides you, who all are involved in the decision-making process?
  • Is there any specific information that your company will require to take action?
  • Have you set any budget for implementing a solution?

These questions will show you a direction to move towards the closing stage quickly.

Final thoughts

Analyze the information once you gather it. Find out how can your solution can help them and explain their benefits. Respond to their queries on-time as it is all about providing an excellent buying experience. CRM like Salesmate can help you this.

By setting workflow, you can automate the follow-up process and connect with them in real-time. With its sales pipeline, you can know where your prospects are in the buying process and what you need to do to convert them into paying customers. This advanced technology has a wide spectrum of features.


An avid writer who likes to explore new fields and research about interesting subjects. She is a versatile content developer who plays with words to express her thoughts. Calm, carefree and creative are the words that describes her the best.

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