The best sales professionals ask open-ended questions — those questions that require more thought and more than a simple one-word answer — to elicit prolonged and revealing discussion. These questions — broken into three categories — are essential to getting to know your prospects, understanding their needs, and positioning yourself as an expert who can assist them.

Fact-finding questions. Fact-finding questions help you mine your prospects for information you will use to make the sale. Ask questions that tap into your buyers’ motivations. Drill down until you understand your prospects’ core needs. Is it security? Wealth? Status? Ultimately, learn how your prospects define homeownership. Examples include: Why are you buying a house? What excites you most about homeownership? Do you think you’ll reside in the home short- or long-term and why?

Specifying questions. Specifying questions prompt clients to reveal how interested they are in pursuing your products and services. They also expose client needs and factors that could influence the transaction, and show how close they are to committing. Examples include: Who else is involved in the decision to purchase your home?

Trust-building questions. These questions help you connect with your client on a personal level and build the rapport that will help close a deal and create a lasting referral relationship. These questions dig for your prospects’ values and interests. Examples include: What concerns do you have about homeownership? What do you like best about the neighborhood?

Open-ended questions let you connect with prospects on an emotional level — a result that is unlikely when using a closed-ended question that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”

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