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Track Selling Institute Momentum

Know the right questions to ask.

Ask the right questions to gain, grow, and retain clients. 

Recent Tips of the Week focused on asking different questions to 1) gain new customers, 2) grow sales to existing clients, and 3) retain customers being wooed by competition.

We received requests from readers to provide samples. Here they are. Apologies for the length of this Tip, there's a lot to share.

Here are our favorites to gain new customers developed during decades of field experience. 

To transition into the business purpose for meeting, we suggest you say something like this, 
"I'd like to tell you about {our company}, however for me to do the best job for you I possibly can, I need to ask a couple questions. Is that all right?" 
Then proceed with your qualification questions.
What would you like to accomplish in our meeting today and what time should we plan to come to a hard stop? 
What prompted you to take this meeting (or call)?
What's an unmet need or unresolved problem you're dealing with where we might be of service?
What's been tried in the past?
What happened? 
What do you think you need to do to get the job done? 
What's the impact if it's resolved in the near future?
What's the consequence in the next six to 12 months if nothing changes? 
How could an outside provider (or vendor) be of service? 
May I ask what you like most about your current provider? 
Would it be fair to ask what you like least about your current provider?
From your experience, what makes for an ideal customer-vendor relationship?
Where could we start?
At this point in the qualification process, you'll know if you have a real prospect or not.
If yes - green light to proceed - summarize what you learned about their needs with an Agreement on Need statement. We suggest something like this.
"As I understand it, you're looking to resolve needs that include (need # 1), (need # 2), and (need # 3), so that (their desired outcome) happens. Is that correct?"
On the other hand, if they don't need what you provide, you have no right to proceed. If there is no agreement on need - red light to stop - thank them for their time and move on to prospects that are better fits for what you do. 

To retain existing customers, here are sample questions.

In our relationship with you and your company, we 've focused on  ____________________________ . How helpful has that been?

Glad to hear it. Please tell me more.

We look for ways to improve our services. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you score our performance for you? 

Thank you for that favorable score.

How could we improve it?

What would be a good next step? 

What are you changing in the future where we could help? 

Who do you know that you might refer us to so we can can be of service for them? 

By the way, we're soon going to begin providing:

  • new products or services that may interest them
  • new customer programs, initiatives, or incentives that may interest them.

All this adds up to nurturing the customer connection. Happy customers are insulated from competitors. Current clients are your best prospects for future sales and best sources for referrals. 

Good luck and good selling.

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