Conversational Selling

November 14, 2014 by Shirleen Von Hoffmann Leave a reply »

Open Ended Questions VS Closed Ended Questions

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann National Director of the Builder Group  Summit Funding and President of Home Builders Edge copyright 2014


Questions are at the heart of a sale.  Ask the wrong questions and you will get the wrong answers.  Good open ended questions uncover facts and motives for buying.  The Salesperson who develops rapport and creates friendships by asking questions, gets the sale because people love to do business with friends.

How do you know that you have mastered asking great questions?  When the prospect says, “That’s a great question, no one has asked me that before!” You are on the right track to being a master.

Do you remember some of your basic sales training when it comes to the types of questions to ask? As you recall, there are two basic types of questions. They are closed end questions and open end questions. The individual situation and type of information you are trying to get often dictates which type of question to use. However, during the initial relationship process, open ended questions should dominate.

Closed Ended Questions

Closed ended are restrictive questions that can be answered very quickly with a simple yes or no or a very limited response. This type of question is useful for obtaining a specific bit of information, data or validation. They are often used in the closing process as well. Examples include questions like:

Do you want me to order our backyard landscaping package for your new home?

Do you prefer our next appointment to be on Monday or Thursday?

Open Ended Questions

Open-ended questions do not lead the customer and they do not require a simple answer. Open ended questions seek to gain a better understanding of the customer by getting them to reveal much more about their objectives, needs, current situation and personality profile. Examples include questions like:

Can you tell me the top six things you are looking for in your new home?

Share with me 6 things you do you not like about your current home?

What are the important hobbies, sports and holidays that you do in your home?

It’s easy when you lay your questions out open ended, like this;

  • What do you look for…?
  • What have you found…?
  • What makes you choose…?
  • What has been your experience…?
  • What is the one thing you would improve…?
  • What are the deciding factors when…?
  • What would you change about…?
  • Tell me about…?
  • Tell me how…?
  • Tell me what you…?
  • How do you feel about…?
  • How did you get…?
  • How did your…?

Remember when you script your questions to ask yourself, “Does this get the customer talking? Does this ask them to reveal something about themselves that I need to know in order to sell them something?  If not, change it up and try it.  I like to practice what I write down on my clients.  Then I refine it a couple of times until I get the perfect question.  Then I use it over and over again with each client interview.

What is the perfect question, you ask?  One that gets my client talking instead of me!


These are simple rules about a simple concept and yet it is amazing how many sales people, even experienced sales people forget to apply them. Sales are not easy especially when the economy is struggling. So ….. Print these seven simple sample open ended questions, fill in your subjects and have your sales force keep them close at hand. Maybe just this little reminder may make a difference during these tough times when they are out trying to increase sales.

Happy Sales!

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2 Responses

  1. Great Article Shirleen!

  2. My favorite question is:

    “What will you miss most about your current neighborhood (community/home/city)?”

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