Learn what an open-ended question is and why asking open-ended questions in sales calls and meetings is so important.

Asking open-ended questions in sales calls is a useful technique for insurance agents. Whether part of your cold call strategy or a method used in follow-up communications, open-ended questions provide many benefits for insurance agents.

What is an open-ended question?

Before describing the benefits of asking open-ended questions in sales, let’s review what an open-ended question is. Simply put, open-ended questions are ones that require more than a yes, no, or one-word answer.

Some examples of open-ended sales questions include:

  • What does a day in your life look like?
    • This is a great opening question to get a sense of a client’s values and priorities. It’s also much more productive than “What do you do for work?”
  • What is a problem in your current insurance/old insurance that you’d like to avoid in the future?
    • This is an excellent question to use toward the beginning of your conversation since it tells you the client’s expectations so you know what parts of the policy packages to highlight.
  • How do you think this policy will benefit you and your family?
    • This is a good question to ask after you’ve spent time explaining different insurance coverage options and benefits.

What about closed-ended questions?

You don’t need to avoid closed-ended “yes or no” questions altogether. In fact, they can be used in front of open-ended questions, as a conversation segue. (i.e. closed-ended Are you happy with your current insurance provider? open-ended What features do you like or dislike the most?) No matter when you use open-ended questions in sales calls and meetings, you’ll find numerous benefits that will help you build your business.

Benefit 1: Obtain additional information

By asking open-ended questions in sales calls and meetings, you open the door to learning new information about your leads and clients. This is why it’s essential to take notes during or after every conversation

Benefit 2: Get to know your lead’s personality

Open-ended questions in sales calls and meetings give insurance agents an opportunity to sit back and listen to what the lead or client’s personality is like. You’ll get a sense of their conversation style and whether they speak more formally or informally. Open-ended questions also help you gauge a client’s sense of humor as well as what level of energy they use in their communication. It’s always a good idea to match your client where they are in terms of energy and tone since it makes them feel more comfortable.

Benefit 3: Keep your lead engaged

By asking open-ended questions in sales calls, you accomplish a major communication goal which is to keep your client talking. The more engaged they are in conversation, the easier it will be to build a relationship with your client. When a lead or client has an opportunity to express themselves, they are more likely to feel like their opinions and concerns are being heard.

Benefit 4: Opportunity to educate

During every conversation or communication touch-point, there’s an opportunity to educate your leads and clients. Asking open-ended questions in sales communication gives an insurance agent the ability to confirm, correct, and redirect a client. You may learn of a client’s objection through open-ended questions and be able to educate them on a misconception.

Benefit 5: Build rapport

The more open-ended questions you ask, the more you will get to know your client or lead. This is a major step in building rapport and establishes a safe place for clients to ask honest questions and seek expert advice. Open-ended questions show that you view them as more than just a sales quota number, and care about them as a person.

Benefit 6: Give you better insight into your follow-up strategy

One of the best benefits of asking open-ended questions in sales calls and meetings is that you learn insights that will improve your follow-up communication. Again, this is where taking notes is essential. Before your follow-up call or meeting, review your notes and be able to refer back to them. This demonstrates to your client that you listen to them carefully and that you are catering the sales experience directly to their needs and specifications.

Benefit 7: Receive helpful feedback

Asking for feedback in the form of open-ended questions is an excellent tool that helps insurance agents grow within their industry. Even if your call or meeting isn’t going the way you had hoped, the information gleaned from an open-ended question may guide you on your next call or meeting. Open-ended questions like these can be used in direct conversations or even follow-up surveys. In both cases, they provide useful and often actionable information.

Asking open-ended questions in sales calls and meetings takes a little bit of time and experience to master. Focus your time on developing these skills by taking other tasks, like cold-calling off your plate. Work with the insurance and technology experts at HBW Leads and receive double-verified and exclusive sales leads.