Business is not about you and your product, it's about the client. To find out as much information as possible, let the client do the talking. Open-ended questions that get the client talking will help. Read how to ask the right questions so that the client doesn't feel like they are being cross-examined and want to close the deal at the end of the conversation.
Open questions provide more information
Open-ended questions cannot be answered yes or no, so they give more space to the respondent and allow them to give more information. In a business meeting, this is exactly what you need. When you ask the right questions, you can find out what the client is worried about and what solution they are looking for, i.e. what you can offer them.
If using open-ended questions seems complicated and you don't know how to use them, prepare an outline of questions in advance. For each one, check that the client cannot answer them in one word.
A tip for you - open-ended questions usually begin with the interrogative pronouns who, what, when, where, how, why.
Get inspired by our five types of open-ended questions and examples you shouldn't miss in a business meeting.
1. Relationship-building questions
The goal of business negotiations is also to build trust and relationship between you and the client. You can do this if you show interest in the client's business, their needs and opinions. Moreover, they will help you to relax the atmosphere at the beginning of the meeting.
- How are you doing?
- What is currently happening in your business?
- What do you expect from our meeting?
- How can I help you achieve your goals?
2. Questions on the situation and experience
In order to offer a suitable solution to your client, you need to know their current situation, the difficulties they are facing and their previous experience.
Try questions like:
- What's stopping you from achieving your goals?
- How are your current processes working, are you satisfied with them?
- How would change help you?
- If money were no object, what would you change?
- What is your experience of the service?
- Why have you chosen this service in the past and how has it worked for you?
- What did you find unsatisfactory?
3. Qualification questions
In a business negotiation, you also need to determine the likelihood that you will close the deal with the client. These are questions that are used to qualify leads.
Instead of closed questions How do you like the offer or Are you interested in the offer? ask:
- What do you think of the offer?
- What has changed since we last met?
- What is your budget for this service?
- Who will decide with you on the offer?
4. Questions on expectations and goals
Let the client think about the business in the long term and ask about their plans and how your service or product will fit into them. This will make them more aware of the benefits you bring to them with your solution.
Place Are you expecting an improvement thanks to our service? Ask:
- What improvements do you expect from using our service?
- How do you envision the ideal solution?
- Where will your business move thanks to our service?
5. Questions to help close the deal
Don't forget to add questions at the end of the meeting to help guide the future course of the deal. Make sure the client understands everything and what further questions they have.
Place Do you have any questions? ask this:
- What other questions do you have that I didn't ask?
- What are your concerns, what doubts do your colleagues have?
- How else can I help you make decisions?
- What is the next course of action?
A few tips at the end
- Take a roundabout way - don't ask what's bothering the client, but let them describe their day at work, project management, etc. In doing so, you're sure to come across a problem that you can inquire about further.
- Help others - use the phrase Companies like yours are usually troubled by these problems ... Do they apply to you? The fact that other firms are experiencing the same difficulties will make it easier for the client to talk about them.
- Beware of the "Why?" question - it can come across as accusatory. Replace it with How?
- Listen to the client - don't try to find answers or offer solutions immediately, instead soak up information and listen to the client's needs.
- Keep the conversation going, don't cross-examine - pick a few questions from each heading and focus on those, ask questions and don't stick slavishly to a prepared script.
All information from the meeting can be clearly recorded in our RAYNET CRM, for example. You will have them together in one place and can refer back to them at any time.