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Persuasive Questioning: 7 Essential Principles for Sales Success

Dr. Scott O. Baird
July 26, 2023
Persuasive Questioning 7 Essential Principles for Sales Success - Griffin Hill

In the world of sales, effective communication and persuasion play a vital role in driving success. One powerful tool that sales professionals can utilize to uncover customer needs, build rapport, and close deals is the art of asking brilliant sales questions. In the book "Be Brilliant! How to Master the Sales Skill of Persuasive Questioning," the author, Dr. Scott O. Baird, highlights seven essential principles that can help salespeople develop their questioning techniques to achieve remarkable results. In this blog, we will explore a few of these principles and understand how they can elevate your sales game.


1. Preparation is Key:

Before engaging with a potential customer, it is crucial to prepare thoroughly. Research their industry, company, and pain points. By doing so, you will be able to craft insightful questions that demonstrate your understanding and create a foundation for a meaningful conversation.

Having an understanding of industry issues and possible pain points of your suspect helps you develop hypotheses you can test with your brilliant questions. Sales professionals will also find it useful to develop hypotheses about ways your product or service can help.

2. Start with Open-Ended Questions:

Open-ended questions are the foundation of persuasive questioning. They encourage customers to provide detailed responses and enable you to gather valuable information. Begin your conversation with questions that cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no," but instead prompt customers to share their thoughts, challenges, and goals.

Open-ended questions are used to facilitate discovery for both the salesperson and the prospective buyer. Closed-ended questions can be used effectively to confirm the discoveries and inferences. Confirmation questions can be as simple as first stating the discovery followed by, “did I get that right?” For example, “So what I think I’m hearing is that your excess turnover is costing you upwards of $170,000 per year. Did I get that right?”

3. Uncover Customer Needs:

To truly understand your customers, you must uncover their needs. Skillful salespeople ask probing questions that delve deeper into the customer's pain points, desires, and aspirations. By uncovering their needs, you can position your product or service as the solution they've been seeking.

The professional sellers use Brilliant! Questions to uncover needs the buyer already knows. Master Sellers also uncover needs, wants, and desires that the buyer has not consciously considered until the moment they answer the seller’s Brilliant question. I call this the moment of epiphany. 

4. Active Listening:

Listening attentively is just as important as asking the right questions. Practice active listening by focusing on what the customer is saying, without interrupting or formulating responses prematurely. This demonstrates respect and understanding, allowing you to build rapport and trust with your potential client.

5. Empathy and Emotional Connection:

Brilliant sales questions go beyond surface-level inquiries. They tap into the customer's emotions, needs, and aspirations. By empathizing with their challenges and dreams, you can forge a stronger connection. Ask questions that evoke emotions and enable customers to envision the positive impact your offering can have on their lives or businesses.

The process of developing emotional connections through Brilliant! Questions build mutual trust between buyer and seller. 

6. Be Curious and Adapt:

Maintain a curious mindset throughout the sales process. As you gather information from your customers, ask follow-up questions to dive deeper into their responses. Adapt your questioning style based on the customer's personality, communication preferences, and the flow of the conversation. This flexibility allows you to navigate diverse situations and build a stronger rapport.

7. Use Questions to Close Deals:

Brilliant sales questions should guide customers toward making a purchasing decision. As the conversation progresses, shift towards more specific questions that highlight the unique value your product or service offers. Effects and Consequence queries are a special type of Brilliant! Questions that will help position your offering as a solution to mutually discovered problems. Aim to uncover potential objections or concerns and address them effectively. Ultimately, your questions should lead the customer to envision the benefits of choosing your solution and solidify their decision to move forward.


Mastering the art of persuasive questioning is an invaluable skill for any sales professional. By following these seven essential principles of brilliant sales questions, you can elevate your sales conversations to a whole new level. Remember to prepare diligently, ask open-ended questions, uncover customer needs, actively listen, establish emotional connections, remain curious, adapt to different situations, and use questions strategically to close deals. With practice, you can become a persuasive communicator who consistently exceeds sales targets and builds long-lasting customer relationships.


Be Brilliant! How to Master the Sales Skill of Persuasive Questioning 

Download this FREE ebook on the Griffin Hill Sales Methodology! 

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