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How to Be a Memorable Salesperson Part 10: Ask Better Questions

As we get close to wrapping up this 12-part series on becoming more memorable as a seller, you’ve probably detected some common themes:

  1. Being memorable depends on your ability and willingness to connect with buyers in meaningful ways.

  2. Becoming memorable means shedding the stereotypes and sales-y seller behaviors that buyers despise.

  3. It’s not that hard to do the things that will make you more memorable. We haven’t introduced any changes that you couldn’t make immediately. No special skills or personality traits required!

Being remembered is much better than being forgotten. In sales, being memorable earns you more referrals and more repeat business. We’ve given you lots of strategies, so pick your path and start taking action to become more memorable!

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How Will Asking Better Questions Help Me Be a Memorable Salesperson?

Graphic Showing Asking Question and Showing ExamplesThink about the people you trust. The ones you rely on when you need something major. Chances are that these same people are the ones who occasionally ask you the tough questions. They reflect back to you what you’ve said and challenge you to think differently at times. They make you think. This is one of the reasons you trust them.

It’s no different with buyers and sellers. You can ask better questions to create value in an instant by making your buyers think and, perhaps, discover something they didn’t realize or know before. You can build trust by asking questions that challenge and inspire them.

This makes you memorable.

When a buyer says “Hmm, that’s a good question,” you’ve just upped your memorability. When a buyer thanks you for giving them pause to think something through, you’ve become a valued resource that won’t be forgotten. And when a buyer feels your needs assessment has been helpful to them (even before you offer a solution!), you have differentiated yourself from other sellers.

Becoming more memorable by asking better questions is easy to do once you learn the art of asking purposeful questions.

What Can I Do to Improve the Questions I Ask in Selling?

This list of 20 Do’s and Don’ts is just the beginning! It will help you improve every sales conversation.

How to Use Questions to Become More Effective in Selling



Ask natural, spur of the moment questions

Ask scripted questions that sound like a survey

Ask follow-up questions to probe areas of interest

Hurry through a list of self-serving qualifying questions

Ask thought-provoking questions that engage buyers

Ask mundane questions with obvious answers

Show curiosity and interest in the buyers’ responses

Plow through questions without any natural reactions

Ask questions to gather information

Ask questions that try to back someone into a corner

State your intent to help before asking questions

Rely on questions that are self-serving gotchas

Sequence questions to understand high level first

Jump straight to questions about using your product

Structure questions so they are open-ended

Ask a series of yes/no questions that go nowhere

Phrase your questions clearly and candidly

Be obtuse or vague like you’re on a fishing expedition

Explore what your customer needs and values

Try to entrap buyers with “If I could…” questions

Allow time for two-way dialogue

Shortcut the discovery process and make assumptions

Listen closely for both content and feelings

Pounce on the first indication of a need

Use questions to stay on track to gather information

Ignore subtle cues about additional needs or value

Ask a variety of questions using DISCOVER Questions®

Be constrained by Data – Needs – Pain questions only

Take notes so you can replay buyers’ words

Rely on your memory to capture all the important info

Ask about both the business and individual goals

Make needs assessment a plug-and-play exercise

Know the purpose of every question you ask

Ask trite, over-used questions every other seller asks

Steer the conversation with your questions

Over-steer and miss important buyer detours

Use questions to build trust and rapport

Use questions to “badger the witness”

Ask questions when you think you know the answer

Ask questions that have already been answered

Sellers who ask thought-provoking questions make more sales. They make them faster. They deliver better solutions because they have more information to work with. There are many benefits to asking questions in addition to making yourself more memorable.


How Can I Learn More About Asking Purposeful Questions in Selling?

Use this link to learn about four specific types of questions you aren’t asking buyers but should be.

Any credible book on selling will include some information about asking quality questions. DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected includes the research with buyers often sourced in those books.  You may also find value in The Book of Beautiful Questions by Warren Berger. It offers questions you can ask yourself and others to make better decisions, innovate, and inspire.

Dozens of global sales authors, speakers, trainers, coaches, researchers, and thought leaders have also created content about using questions to be more effective in selling. You’ll find their presentations, along with hundreds more, on The Sales Experts Channel. It’s a free resource with on-demand content you can access when you need it. Search in the archives under “Discovery and Customer Needs” for some outstanding content.

And don’t forget to work on additional ways you can become more memorable,:

  • Stick with this series to read more about buyer research and field observations with sellers.

  • Check out this video playlist on the People First PS YouTube Channel with more tips and research with buyers. There are 25 videos there, each one lasting just 3-5 minutes.

  • Read the book that started it all. DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected is packed with ways you can make yourself more memorable to buyers. It was ahead of its time in bringing research with buyers directly to sellers.

Whatever you decide to do, make a commitment to become more memorable. Standing out in a crowded sea of sellers is a surefire strategy for boosting your sales success.

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