Be Investigative

When you’re discussing potential needs with your customers or prospects you want the discussion to be conversational not interrogative.  Whilst you will have a lot of questions to ask your customer, you want to ask them in a relaxed, non-threatening manner which will put them at ease and ensure that they open up to you. Be investigative and build the conversation!

So how do we go about this?  Here are some ideas:


  • Make it conversational by ensuring that your questions are interlinked and are responsive to hints or cues that your customer has given you in the conversation.
  • Listen attentively to what your customer is saying.  This will help you pick up on the need cues mentioned above.
  • Use non-threatening needs-oriented questions.  Here we remind you again of our old friend ‘TED’.  Questions that start with the words Tell, Explain or Describe will usually fit this bill!
  • Encourage your customer to keep talking and don’t interrupt!  A big error that inexperienced salespeople make is interrupting the customer because they think they have the answer.  You don’t so be investigative. When your customer is talking, let them talk!
  • Be interested in what your customer is saying.  Really interested.


  • Ask a series of seemingly unrelated questions.  This will seem like an interrogation.
  • Use questions starting with threatening words such as ‘why?’
  • Jump ahead because you think you know what they’re going to say. (you don’t)
  • Use a lot of closed-ended questions.  Use these types of questions sparingly.



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Brendan Walsh