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15 Questions That Win New Customers

Work these questions into your customer conversations, and you'll find out everything you need to know.

When you're having a conversation (or series of conversations) with a potential customer, work these questions into the dialogue. Once you've gotten answers, you'll know exactly what you must do to turn the prospect into a customer.

  1. How did you get into this [line of work/industry]?
  2. What do you like best about your job?
  3. What do you wish you could improve?
  4. What can you tell me about your priorities?
  5. How are you currently addressing this [problem/opportunity]?
  6. How much is this [problem/opportunity] costing you?
  7. What can you tell me about your decision-making process?
  8. How do you handle budget considerations?
  9. What other options are you looking at?
  10. What can you tell me about the people involved in the process?
  11. What obstacles might be in the way of moving this forward?
  12. How will you be evaluating different options?
  13. How will the funding for the project be justified?
  14. How much attention is this [problem/opportunity] getting at the executive level?
  15. How does this sound as a next step? [briefly describe]

These questions are variations of a list sales guru Barry Rhein gave me a few years ago.

Note: Never interrogate the customer. Instead, use these questions to move the conversation gradually forward. This may very well require multiple conversations.

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Last updated: Feb 14, 2013


Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

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