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Jun 202315 min read

Asking for the Sale: 7 Key Questions and Phrases for Successful Non-Pushy B2B Selling

The art of asking for the sale isn't merely about throwing out a well-timed sales pitch. It's about understanding your client's needs, finding the solution within your product or service, and guiding the conversation towards that realization.

When done right, using the correct questions and phrases can significantly boost your sales conversion rate, all while strengthening a positive and respectful relationship with your clients.

This blog post will provide you with the strategies and techniques to master this subtle art, from the underlying psychology to practical examples you can apply in your next sales discussion.


What you’ll learn in this blog:

Why Understanding Your Customer's Needs is Crucial Before Asking for the Sale

The cornerstone of any successful sales strategy lies in understanding your customer's needs and expectations. Before asking for the sale you need to understand your prospect in order to provide a solution to their problem.

Understanding your clients' needs in depth enables you to customize your pitch to clearly show how your offering meets or even exceeds their requirements.

Customer Needs Analysis: An Investigative Process

Understanding your customer's needs is not an intuitive process, but an investigative one. The key is to ask the right questions. These questions should delve deep into your customer's business operations, challenges, and objectives.

By asking open-ended questions, you allow your client to articulate their needs in their own words, giving you critical insights into the problems that your product or service can solve.


Here are some examples of open-ended questions you can use to guide your conversation:

  • "Can you tell me more about the challenges your business is currently facing?"
  • "What are the specific outcomes you hope to achieve with our product/service?"
  • "Could you describe a successful scenario for your business using our product/service?"
  • "In what ways do you believe our product/service could improve your business operations?"


Posting these questions encourage your prospect to share their needs, expectations, and aspirations, which in turn gives you the opportunity to position your product or service as the ideal solution. Make it a two-way, win-win conversation where you and your prospect can both benefit from the outcome.

Remember, the goal is to engage your customer in a conversation that revolves around their needs, rather than a one-sided sales pitch. This approach not only builds trust but also presents you as a problem solver rather than just a salesperson, significantly enhancing your chances of securing the sale.


πŸ‘‰ Customer needs analysis involves identifying and prioritizing a client's requirements. To learn more, check out our blog Customer Needs Analysis: Converting Challenges into Solutions.


How To Balance Assertiveness and Subtlety In Conversations

In B2B sales, it's crucial to balance assertiveness with subtlety to avoid sounding pushy and risking a sale. Being too forceful can create discomfort and resistance from prospects.

Instead, a strategically subtle yet assertive approach respects the client's autonomy while guiding them towards a purchase. This involves leading the prospect on a logical path to commitment, using subtle assertions that align your solution with their needs.

You're not pushing your prospect into a corner but rather leading them down a path where the most logical next step is to commit to your product or service.

You're not pushing your prospect into a corner but rather leading them down a path where the most logical next step is to commit to your product or service.

At the heart of this balance between assertiveness and subtlety lies empathy and active listening.

Empathy allows you to truly understand and acknowledge your client's concerns, needs, and hesitations, fostering a sense of trust and rapport.

Active listening, on the other hand, is the key to ensuring your client feels heard and validated.


πŸ‘‰ These subtleties in buyer behavior can be widely observed in sales. If you want to dive deeper into the topic of the science behind sales such as buyer behavior, preferences, and biases, check out our blog The Impact of Buyer Behavior and Cognitive Biases on Sales Performance. 


3 Techniques for Asking for the Sale Effectively

The groundwork for a successful close is laid throughout the entire sales conversation. From the moment you engage with a potential customer, each interaction, question, and proposal should be directed towards that goal.

Setting the Stage for the Close

Every sales conversation you have should be structured in a way that each point you make, and each question you ask, subtly leads to and implies the ultimate question: "Would you like to go ahead with our product/service?".

For example, after having discussed your client's needs and how your product or service can meet them, you might naturally segue into the close with a statement like, "Given that our solution aligns with your requirements and goals, shall we discuss the next steps for implementation?"


πŸ‘‰ Effective closing techniques can significantly impact the decision-making process of your audience and presentations with a strong, clear close are more likely to convert prospects into customers. Learn more about How to Close a Presentation?


Timing Your Ask

Knowing when to ask for the sale can sometimes feel like guessing the perfect moment to catch a falling leaf. Too early, and you may come across as pushy; too late, and you risk losing the prospect's interest. However, modern sales tactics are no longer just about intuition but also about leveraging data from your prospect's interactions with your sales content.

Too early, and you may come across as pushy; too late, and you risk losing the prospect's interest.

Also, leverage your content analytics! Your sales content, such as presentations, brochures, or demo videos, can provide invaluable insights into a prospect's interest and readiness to buy. Sophisticated sales enablement platforms like Showell can track metrics like open rates, time spent on each page, repeat views, and shares, painting a picture of your prospect's engagement.


πŸ‘‰ Understand how your customers are interacting and consume the information you share with them. Learn more about Showell's Sales Content Analytics.


For instance, if your analytics show that a prospect has opened your proposal multiple times, spent significant time reviewing the pricing page, or shared the content internally, these are strong buying signals indicating a high level of interest. This data-driven approach can help you time your ask more accurately, striking while the iron is hot.

In a scenario where a prospect repeatedly reviews a product demo video, this could be your cue to ask: "I noticed you've looked at our demo a few times. Does it align with what you're looking for, and can we discuss the next steps?"

In essence, by combining instinct with interaction data, you can significantly improve your timing in asking for the sale.

Remember, the key is to use these insights to create a more personalized and effective sales process, increasing your chances of successfully closing the deal.

Another useful technique with this is to look for buying signals from your prospect - these could be verbal cues, such as positive feedback about your product, or nonverbal cues, such as nodding in agreement or leaning in during the conversation.

Tailoring Your Approach to Your Prospect

Every prospect is different, and so your approach should be tailored accordingly. Some clients may prefer a more direct approach, while others may appreciate a more consultative style.

By actively listening and gauging your prospect's responses throughout the sales conversation, you can adjust your style to match their preferences. For example, a client who values data and hard facts might appreciate a direct approach like, "Our solution has been shown to increase efficiency by 30%. Given your current challenges, this could save your company significant time and resources. Can we move forward with this?"



7 Key Questions and Phrases to Asking for The Sale

Carefully crafted questions and phrases can guide your prospect toward recognizing the value of your offering, subtly nudging them towards a sale. Who knew that the words you use during a sales conversation can strongly influence its outcome?

Here, we provide 7 key questions and 7 persuasive phrases you can utilize to effectively navigate the sales process.

7 Questions to Guide Your Prospect Towards a Sale


1. Business challenge-specific question: 

πŸ’‘ "What specific challenges is your business currently facing?" 


2. Deep dive into the problem: 

πŸ’‘ "Can you help me understand the impact of these challenges on your business operations?"


3. How your product fits the puzzle:

πŸ’‘ "How do you see our product/service addressing these challenges?"


4. Product value:

πŸ’‘ "Are there any features in our product/service that you believe could be particularly beneficial for your business?"


5. Identify potential challenges:

πŸ’‘ "Do you have any concerns or obstacles that might prevent us from moving forward with this solution?"


6. Key results and objectives:

πŸ’‘ "What are the key results you hope to see if we implement our solution?"


7. Set goals aligned with the product:

πŸ’‘ "How does our solution align with your business goals for the coming year?"


These questions are designed to guide your prospects through their decision-making process, helping them see the value your solution can provide to their business.

7 Phrases to Subtly Push Towards Closing


1. πŸ’‘ "From what you've shared, it seems like our solution could be a strong fit for addressing your challenges."


2. πŸ’‘ "Would it make sense to discuss how we could tailor our solution to fit your specific needs?"


3. πŸ’‘ "I understand budget is a concern. However, considering the potential savings and efficiency our solution can bring, do you see the value in investing?"


4.πŸ’‘ "Can we discuss the next steps for implementing our solution in your business workflow?"


5. πŸ’‘ "Based on your feedback, it sounds like our product/service could meet your needs. Shall we move forward with this?"


6. πŸ’‘ "Given that our solution aligns with your requirements, can we start preparing for the integration process?"


7. πŸ’‘ "From our discussion, I believe that our solution could bring significant improvements to your operations. Shall we proceed to finalize the details?"


These phrases subtly steer the conversation towards a close, without being overly aggressive or pushy.

Consider a scenario where a client has for example concerns about the initial investment in robotic automation systems for their automotive parts manufacturing. By using a blend of the questions and phrases above, the conversation could flow like this:


Salesperson πŸ’­

"I understand that making a substantial investment in automation is a significant decision for your factory (empathy). Can you share with me some specific challenges that you’re currently facing in the production process?" (question 2)



Prospect πŸ’­

"We are struggling with meeting production targets due to manual assembly limitations and, honestly, the inconsistency in quality is becoming an issue with our clients."






Salesperson πŸ’­

"I understand that making a substantial investment in automation is a significant decision for your factory (empathy). Can you share with me some specific challenges that you’re currently facing in the production process?" (question 2)


Prospect πŸ’­

"We are struggling with meeting production targets due to manual assembly limitations and, honestly, the inconsistency in quality is becoming an issue with our clients."







Salesperson πŸ’­

"I see. That does sound challenging. Our robotic automation systems are engineered to increase assembly speed and ensure consistent quality in products (phrase 1). Considering the enhanced production capabilities and the positive impact it can have on client satisfaction, do you think exploring an investment in automation could be beneficial in the long run?" (phrase 3)


Prospect πŸ’­

"I can see the potential benefits, but the upfront costs and integration worry me."




















Salesperson πŸ’­

"It’s completely normal to be concerned about costs and integration. What’s key is that robotic automation is an investment in the future efficiency and growth of your manufacturing operations. We also offer customized installation plans and financing options to ease the transition. Can we set up a time to discuss in detail how we can tailor our robotic automation systems to address the specific needs and constraints of your factory?" (phrase 2)


In this manner, by combining these strategic questions and phrases, the salesperson addresses the prospect's concerns and guides them to see the long-term value and potential growth that robotic automation systems can provide. This creates an environment conducive to closing the sale while also building a relationship based on understanding and trust.


The Role of Follow-ups in Asking for the Sale

No matter how persuasive your sales pitch or how well-timed your ask, sometimes the deal doesn't close on the first attempt. That's where the art of the follow-up comes into play. Follow-ups are a critical component of the sales process, acting as gentle reminders nudging your prospect towards making a decision.

Understanding the Significance of Follow-ups

Follow-ups serve as opportunities to reiterate the value of your product or service, address any remaining concerns, and keep the dialogue going. In a B2B sales environment, where decisions often involve substantial financial commitments and multiple stakeholders, the need for follow-ups is even more crucial.

It's important to understand that a delay in decision-making doesn't necessarily reflect a lack of interest, but could be due to the complexity of the decision-making process.

Strategies for Non-Invasive Follow-ups

Effective follow-ups are all about balance - striking the right tone, delivering valuable information, and ensuring you're maintaining respectful persistence. Here are a few strategies for non-invasive follow-ups, including concrete examples:

1. Schedule your follow-ups
Before concluding your initial meeting or call, try to set a specific date and time for your next conversation. This keeps the ball rolling and demonstrates respect for your prospect's time. It also alleviates the 'surprise factor' of an unscheduled follow-up.

Example: "I appreciate your time today and understand you need to discuss our proposal with your team. Can we schedule a follow-up call for next Tuesday to address any questions that may arise?"

2. Provide additional value with each follow-up
Every interaction should bring value to your prospect. Instead of simply checking in, offer new insights, resources, or information that align with their needs and reinforce the value of your product or service.

Example: "I came across this recent industry report on improving operational efficiency and thought it might be valuable for your ongoing discussions. Let's touch base next week to discuss any thoughts or questions you might have after reviewing it."

3. Respect their communication preferences
Ask your prospects about their preferred mode of communication. Some might prefer emails, while others may appreciate a quick phone call or a text message.

Example: "I want to ensure our communication is as convenient for you as possible. How do you prefer I follow up: via email, phone, or another method?"

4. Utilize a soft-touch approach
Instead of hard-pressing for a decision, adopt a soft-touch approach. Show that you're there to help, not just to close the deal. This can involve offering assistance, answering questions, or providing clarifications.

Example: "I hope the proposal provided you with the information needed to make a decision. If you have any further questions or require additional data, I'm here to help. Let's schedule a chat early next week to discuss any queries."

5. Keep it concise and focused
Nobody likes reading or listening to unnecessarily long messages. Keep your follow-ups concise, clear, and focused on the primary goal - moving the prospect one step closer to a decision.

Example: "Just touching base to see if you've had a chance to review our proposal. I'm available this Thursday for a call to address any questions or concerns you might have."

Using Follow-ups to Reinforce Your Sales Pitch

Follow-ups can also be strategically used to reinforce the value of your offering. You can share additional resources like case studies, testimonials, or data that bolster your sales pitch, always aligning with the specific needs and interests of your prospect.

For example, you might share a case study that shows how a similar business benefited from your product or service, illustrating potential ROI and success.

Consider a scenario where a prospect is still indecisive about the cost versus benefit. A well-timed follow-up email could read:


Dear [Prospect's Name],

I hope you're well. Following up on our last conversation, I wanted to share a case study of a client in a similar situation as yours. After implementing our solution, they witnessed a 35% increase in operational efficiency, which more than offset the initial investment. I thought this might provide a helpful perspective as you evaluate our solution.

Please feel free to share this with your team. I'm available next week to discuss any further questions you might have.

Best, [Your Name]


By employing these strategies, you can ensure your follow-ups serve as valuable touchpoints that gently guide your prospects towards a positive sales decision, without being intrusive or aggressive.

In conclusion

Asking for the sale is a delicate art, blending the science of psychology with the subtlety of persuasive communication. The key to interpreting and overcoming sales resistance takes empathy, active listening, and going the extra mile to meet your prospect's needs.

By understanding your customer's needs, maintaining a balance between assertiveness and subtlety, employing effective techniques, and mastering the role of follow-ups, you can enhance your sales process, leading to increased conversions and stronger customer relationships. Happy selling!

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