What questions do I recommend salespeople ask? Truthfully, that depends on where your prospect falls in the decision-making process. But let’s assume for today that your prospect isn’t thrilled with the status quo but hasn’t yet decided if it’s worth the extra work required to change. (And I’ve chosen this hypothetical because more than 90 percent of your prospects will likely feel this way.)

So what do you ask such a prospect? Personally, I think it’s imperative to find out about his status quo. That’s why I suggest starting with a question such as “Tell me about your current situation.” In my case, the question would be “Tell me about your sales force.”

Then, I’d want to learn about the challenges he was facing, so I’d ask “What are the biggest issues you’re facing right now?” I’d also want to find out how those issues would impact his ability to achieve his goals, so I’d ask “How will these challenges affect your ability to reach your objectives this year?”

Finally, I’d want to know what he was already doing to address these challenges, so I’d ask What types of strategies have you put in place to help you close the gap?”

To beat the status quo:

  1. Start by asking about her situation, specifically as it relates to your offering.
  2. Find out about her issues.
  3. Determine the business impact of these challenges and discover what she’s already doing about it.

Inertia is a formidable foe in the world of sales, but with a few probing questions, you can get your prospect (and your sales) moving in the right direction.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.