12 Open ended questions to ask when cold calling
For B2B, cold calling is an effective way to gain a competitive edge and grow your business. However, most salespeople don’t succeed at it.
They don’t do proper research and create lacklustre pitches that aren’t involving. As a result, 72% of their cold calls get rejected.
But with open-ended strategic questions, you can lead prospects into buying your product quicker.
Questions make them open up about their needs. This way, you get an edge to drive your product as a solution to their problems. In addition, questions help you gather more details that will help you in future follow-up and interactions.
In this guide, we’ll be looking at 12 open-ended questions and the perfect way to use them on your calls.
But before we do that, let’s start with essential cold calling tips.
Must-Know B2B Cold Calling Tips
The key to being successful at cold calling is not making more calls. It’s about reaching out to the most qualified prospects.
Very often, salespeople spend time crafting the perfect pitch and presents a call well only to be met with this common phrase:
“Thanks for your pitch, but I’ll have to present this to the guy who makes decisions here.”
And that’s one of the reasons that many salespeople get wrong. So if you want to have more success in your sales calls, here are more tips to help you save time and generate more leads:
Define your target business
Avoid the thought that making many calls will get you a higher chance of getting a client. You will be better placed to get a lead once you’ve researched possible clients and narrowed your list to suitable matches.
Research your targets
Once you have settled on suitable matches, do some more research. Find out who the decision-makers are. This may mean making fewer calls but get a higher success rate.
Also, check out the prospect’s social media profiles like LinkedIn. You’ll learn about the technologies they use and the challenges they may be facing.
This background check is essential because 62% of buyers are more likely to buy a product that solves a current problem they’re facing.
Understanding your product deeply
Every successful salesperson has one thing in common - they’ve mastered every nitty-gritty detail about their product.
Doing so will help you prepare for impromptu questions a potential buyer asks when they want to escape your grip.
You don't want to find yourself mumbling answers or asking to get back to them. You can't expect a prospect to trust you when you don't even know what you are selling.
Ask relevant questions
To hack this, ensure you plan your questions depending on the information you found from your research.
The questions should be focused on the client and not your business. Also, avoid questions that put the limelight on your business, such as "Have you ever heard about XYZ company or such and such product."
So, what should be the right question to ask for different scenarios?
Open-Ended Questions When You're Losing the Lead.
A prospect may sound uninterested in your call, but you can't give up without putting up a fight. Well, not literally, but try to keep a prospect interested without sounding desperate.
1. Try to find out if they may need your product in the future.
You can ask a straight-up question like, "When do you suppose your company will need this type of product/service."
If the prospect mentions they may consider it in the future, you can mark that for future follow-up.
2. Offer to demonstrate your product
In most cases, you’ll find out that the prospect hasn’t heard about your product. So he probably doesn’t know how it works.
A demonstration will show your product in action. This helps your prospect understand better its value or how it can solve his problem.
Here’s a typical question you’ll ask.
"Would you be interested in a demo meeting to see how this can help you?"
3. Ask why they don't want the product you are offering.
If you realize that you are losing the lead, make a point to know why the prospect is objecting to your offer.
You can ask something like, "Do you mind letting me know if there is any reason for us not to move forward with this discussion?"
Note that the question isn’t pushy. Keep it casual and respectful, which can bring the prospect back on track.
4. Find out if there is someone else you can talk to
You should ask this question when you notice you’re talking to the wrong person. Of course, a little bit more research could avoid getting here.
But in case it does, you don’t want to give your all in a call that might end up in the rubbish bin. The question is intended to help you connect with a decision-maker or other stakeholders involved in critical purchases. These can be project managers, procurement managers, or even the CEO.
Here’s an example. "Who else should we involve in this call,"
Questions to Ask to Restart a Cold Calling Conversation
Cold calling intends to gather as much information as you can about your prospect. However, some prospects may not be willing to give the information.
Luckily, if the person has not hung up on you yet, you still have a chance to turn the call to your advantage.
5. Share an insight
If you had done your research well about the particular business and their industry, you could use some valuable information.
Share an insight that relates to their business and has a connection with what you are offering.
This may arouse their interest, especially if it's something they are not aware of. A question such as " I'm sure you know but it might be worth mentioning that A% of companies in your industry using our product generate 20% more revenue?
6. Mention a common problem that you want to solve
You already know from your research that your target customer has a special need, but you don't want to sound like a desperate salesperson.
Mentioning a pain point may make them give you the information you want. For example,
"Our customers report to experience such and such problem, have you experienced something similar?”
7. Ask about their current product
Selling for B2B customers today is hard. Times have changed, and the salesperson isn’t in charge of the buying process anymore.
Buyers do their research when they want to buy a product. Now, this question is meant to shift the buyer from a product they already use to yours.
The idea here is to help you get more information about what your competitors are offering. And how to leverage their weaknesses to strengthen your pitch.
Ask what they like the most about their current system. Is there anything they dislike? If they had a chance, would they want to change the product? Is the product they’re using working for them?
8. Bring up something happening in the industry
The B2B space is very sporadic. Selling to B2B customers is not as easy as selling to B2C customers.
But you can use this knowledge to get your prospects' attention, more so if it’s a developing issue.
Here’s an example of a question you can ask.
"A, B and C are going on in your industry. Has this affected your business?"
9. Questions to Ask to Ensure You'll Get a Follow-Up Call
An opportunity to follow up means your prospect is interested in your product. He simply needs a few more nudges to close the deal.
Statistics show that 60% of prospects will say no four times before agreeing to make a purchase. The key is persistence.
10. Find out if they want more information about your product
A prospect may not remember much of what you are offering after your cold call. It would be good to send over more information.
You’d send over a question like this: "Is it alright if I send over some more information through email? And is there any particular info you'd want to be included in the email?"
11. Seek to know if they plan to make a future purchase**
Since you are almost ending the call, ask, "What's your timeline for making a purchase decision?"
12. Ask to call another time if the timing isn’t appropriate
You may make a call when the prospect doesn't have the time to have a discussion. Use the chance to ask what time would be best to call to share what you were offering.
Cold calling can be a huge success if you incorporate it into your sales strategy. You only need to carry out thorough research and ask the right questions. Remember, you only have one chance to make an impression.