Believe it or not, open-ended questions are extremely valuable in the sales process.

These type of questions allow you to gather useful information, qualify sales opportunities and of course, establish rapport, trust and credibility. In order to become a better sales professional, it’s always good practice to have a bank of open-ended questions that will be answered by more than just a yes or no response.

To help you out, we’ve featured 19 open-ended questions below that will allow the prospect/customer to get directly involved in the sales discussion. Remember, the point of these questions is to let the prospect/customer answer themselves, without you leading, prompting or interrupting them during the process.

How to ask open-ended questions

When it comes to asking questions before, during or after a meeting, you should start by asking how the particular industry trend is on their mind or what they’re doing about it. Another starter could be about what they’re doing since the event they went to last week. Or maybe their most recent webinar, their new hire etc. This all shows that you’re doing your research beforehand.

That’s the first step.

Next, you’ll want to branch into why it’s going well or not well. What is the objective of what happened, did they go to the event to generate more leads or for exposure. Did they do a webinar with a client for all their clients or was it for lead generation?

Asking open-ended questions will allow you to better understand their needs, weaknesses and what you could do to help.

Without further ado, here are some of the best open-eneded questions to ask your prospect/customer.

Opened-ended questions for gathering information

#1 – What are the top priorities of your business at the moment?

#2 – What interested you/your company to look into this more?

#3 – Could you share with me your expectations and requirements for the particular product/service?

#4 – What sort of process did you go through to identify your needs?

#5 – Looking ahead, what is it that you would like to see accomplished?

#6 – Previously, who have you had success with?

#7 – Who did you have difficulties with in the past?

#8 – It’d be great if you could help me understand that better?

#9 – So how does that process work now?

#10 – What specific challenges does that process create for you?

#11 – What sort of challenges has that created in the past?

#12 – What would you say are the best things about that particular process?

Open-ended questions for the qualifying stage

#1 – Looking forward, what are the next action steps?

#2 – Explain to me your timeline for implementing and purchasing this type of service?

#3 – What key data points should we be aware of before proceeding?

#4 – What’s the budget for this?

#5 – What are your thoughts so far?

#6 – Who else is part of the decision process?

#7 – What concerns do you have?

The above open-ended questions should help you learn more about your prospect/customer. These questions are to be used for starting a conversation to gather more information from them. Don’t go reading them through like a script.

You’ll also need to be actively listening to the answers to help you build a rapport with the prospects. Doing so will help you become one of their trusted advisers.


Ollie uses social selling every day to learn and develop new ways to create conversations and reach prospects. Outside of the office he's an avid Liverpool FC fan and regularly watches his local football team play or plays pool every week. You can connect with Ollie on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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