Our Top Six Probing Questions

Probing questions will help grow pain and develop gain – both of which you want.

It’s hard to sell effectively without understanding your customer’s issues. Issues can create headaches, and headaches create needs, and needs create sales.Sometimes, however, people are not aware they have issues until they are asked a few questions. For example, someone could ask you questions about your health, and in the process, you realise you are in desperate need of a holiday. This is the beautiful consequence of probing questions – you are not telling the customer; they discover it for themselves.

Similarly, you have to do more than simply tell a customer what to do. As Brian Tracy said, “Telling isn’t selling”. And probing isn’t telling, it’s asking. Done well, great probing questions will enlarge issues in your customer’s mind as you draw their attention to a specific area of interest within the conversation.

Probing Questions have the magical effect of re-prioritising issues in the mind of your customer. They are simply brilliant, and a highly coveted skill for today’s evolved sales professional.


1. “How did that make you feel?” Customers’ feelings are important – take it from the logical to the emotional for a stronger tie-in to your message.

2. “Could I please have an example of that?” Examples bring issues to life in the minds of your customers and help you to grow and prioritise them.

3. “May I please clarify one of your points?” Seeking clarification is not only okay to do, it’s encouraged. Don’t let the opportunity go without clarifying your understanding.You might not be able to have another conversation with the client for weeks or months – make the most of the opportunity now!

4. “What are the implications of (that issue) on your department/team/time?” Implications or impact is important in business. Like falling dominoes, one small thing can impact another and so on until there is a whole chain of issues to be resolved.

5. “Would I be right in saying that you’re really passionate about (that issue)?” This type of reflecting probe is very important, as it shows you are listening, and will generate more discussion around a significant issue. It’s a nice change from the usual probing questions too.

6. “That’s interesting – could I hear more about that please?” A nice, simple probe, but an effective one. Probing isn’t rocket science – it’s a way for you to find out more selling issues. Simple, but important.


For the world’s simplest probe, try silence. The act of saying NOTHING can work well to get the information you need.


In our sales training courses, we cover the art of probing quite extensively. And yes, it is an art. Our evidence is that only a small percentage of modern sales professionals are using probing well! Call us now to make sure you are part of that percentage – 0207 043 1582.

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