Pending Business: Asking Questions | TALKERS magazine : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Pending Business: Asking Questions

| September 13, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — After many years in Florida, Manhattan has been my base of operations for two of the past four weeks. You can take me out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of me. So once operating in my native habitat old habits return.

Bold questions are part of the New York state of mind. Did you know a cab from LGA to a Midtown hotel is now (usually) less expensive than Uber? Just ask. Some hotels change rates daily. You go to the front desk, ask to check rates and adjust if a better rate is available during your stay. I know because I asked and adjusted my plans based on the answers. What does this have to do with day-to-day selling?

One of the most important skills to master in your selling life is the art and science of asking questions. The thing about asking questions during your sales calls is the process is more complicated than advertised. Yet, when mastered, the right questions will dictate the next steps to closing your deals.

Now that I may have saved you a little money on your next trip to NYC, let me help you make a little money before you go. Here’s a quick refresher on questioning technique for your sales calls.

  • Know where you’re going. Just like my trips to the airport, your destination is clear: closing the sale. Every question you ask should focus on reaching your destination. From “How was your weekend?” to “What are the critical KPI elements?” every question should have an answer that leads to your destination.
  • Closed-ended questions. Simple questions that can be answered yes, no, or some other short, but to-the-point response.
  • Open-ended questions. These questions require more detailed reply, more time and more fast analysis on your part. These questions are often followed by another open-ended question. “What makes your _______ stand apart from the others? Can you talk a little more about that?” Most decision makers enjoy sharing what makes their business better and this part is the art of building rapport.
  • Talk less, ask more. When question flow starts, you should not be dominating the clock. Keep your mind on the end goal.
  • Timing is everything. When you feel you have the answers you need, you should know what to do next.

Every manager worthy of his or her title will repeat the mantra, “Did you ASK for the order?” The really good ones will guide you in how to get there.

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at:

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Sales