To ask your client a lot of questions can sometimes be off-putting for both of you, and so it helps if you can figure out a way for them to grasp the importance of them.

Recently on our blog we’ve been putting a huge emphasis on the value of asking open-ended questions. The ability to get right to the point is the difference between a long or short sales process.

Let’s play 20 Questions

It’s a campfire favourite. Everyone takes a turn thinking of something, or someone. It can be a celebrity, athlete, historical figure, and the other people must guess who that person is by asking questions. However, they can only ask you Yes or No questions. Is it a woman? Is she Canadian? On and on until the 20 questions are up.

The game is amusing, and it’s particularly funny watching your fellow playmates somehow get as far away as possible from who you actually had in mind.

Bringing this game into the office can demonstrate to your client how wasteful asking close-ended questions can be. Have your client run after a pink elephant (why not?) for the duration of 20 questions, and then turn the game around. Tell them they can now ask you any question they want.

The smartest will cut to the chase and simply ask you, “What are you thinking of?”

“I’m thinking of a pink elephant.” There, we’ve shortened the process tenfold.

It’s not about the pink elephant

Instead of focusing your attention on the features of the car you want to sell, for example, put the focus on the client’s needs. We tend to blurt out the selling points. Excellent mileage, 360-degree view camera systems, keyless entry, etc.

By asking your client what’s important to their transportation needs, you get straight to the point. You won’t waste precious time trying to sell the new electric model to someone whose main goal is getting to and from their work, only 5 km away.


Everyone wins when a salesperson understands the value and utilizes the efficiency of open-ended questions. The issues and, the compelling reasons to buy are all revealed much faster.

Keep in mind, asking open-ended questions is a sure way to quickly get to the end point.