How Do You Engage the Prospect?

Many sales processes will tell you to start with the basic questions.

The Who, What, Where and How. The problem is these questions sound more like an interrogation than a conversation.

Yet a conversation is exactly what a prospecting call should sound like.

So how do you get your customer talking and telling you about themselves and their goals, challenges, and needs? The answer – stop treating this like a sales call and start treating it like a conversation.

Make it sound more like a casual conversation with friends. Prepare questions that encourage the customer to open up and give you more than just a short answer.

Here are a few great questions you can use to get an engaging conversation going:

“Tell me about…”

“Give me an idea…”

“Why have you chosen…”

Ask them to:

Paint you a picture of …

Describe for you…

Explain to you…

Walk you through…

Bring you up to speed…

Share an example with you…

Explain that again…

An easy way to look at it is: Short questions will get you long answers, and long questions will get you short answers.

Your objective is to get the other person talking. Don’t waste this time by trying to ask complicated questions they won’t understand. Keep the questions short. This allows them to more easily process and share with you their views.

As you move through both the prospecting and selling phase, you can use the information you learned early on to help drive more in-depth questions later on.

One item to be aware of, regardless of how good you may feel about your questioning process, is never allow yourself to buy in 100% on what they’re telling you.

You still need to double-check everything. It can be easy for a prospect to share with you something early on that in the big scheme of things isn’t the real issue. If you accept 100% of what they do tell you, the result is you can wind up going down a dead-end road.

The topic of prospecting is something I wrote about in my latest book Advisor Selling: The Art of Becoming a Trusted Advisor, which I co-authored with Matthew Hudson. This blog post is just a small piece of what we talk about.  Feel free to check it out for yourself at Advisor Selling: The Art of Becoming a Trusted Advisor.

Mark Hunter, ‘The Sales Hunter’, is one of the top 50 sales and marketing leaders in the world. Find out more about Mark at

Mark Hunter
Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," has been recognized as one of the top 50 sales and marketing leaders in the world. Mark has earned this recognition by helping companies and their sales teams identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. Since 1998, Mark has worked with some of the biggest companies in the world like Samsung, Coca-Cola, American Express, conducting thousands of customized training programs and keynotes on sales and leadership. Prior to starting his consulting company he spent more than 18 years in the sales and marketing divisions of three Fortune 100 companies. This background and experience makes him a person CEOs and leaders turn to for insight and direction. Mark not only has expertise in sales, but also knows how to communicate it to others. He travels on average 250 days per year and has spoken in more than 15 different countries. The Sales Hunter website is visited by people from more than 140 different countries each month, making Mark a global leader known for his insights in sales and leadership. He also is author of the best-selling book “High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.” To find out more, visit

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