Being good at fact-finding is a game-changer if you work in the world of sales. Whether you’re selling financial advice, real estate, insurance, cars, office equipment- or anything else, you’ll know the importance of asking your prospective client the right questions to establish their wants and needs.

You can’t make a sale until you understand what your prospect’s challenge is, what they need and how you can help them. A lot of salespeople out there make the mistake of pushing their product or service on an individual. Instead of focusing on how they can add value to their prospective client, they’re solely focused on making the sale and bulldozing their way to the finish line.

Before you go into a meeting with anyone, you should commit to making it your responsibility to learn as much as you can about that individual. When you leave that meeting, you need to be sure about what their problem is or what challenges they’re facing. And if you’re not 100% clear on what that is, then you’re not asking the right questions and your fact-finding skills need work.

Here’s what to focus on:


Not every prospect will be aware that they have a problem that needs fixing. But it’s your job as a good salesperson to find out what gaps exist in their life, and how you can help them with those things. With the art of intelligent questioning and paying very careful attention to what your prospect says, you’ll soon be able to understand their psychology and be able to help them to see things that they may not have been able to see before.


If you want your prospect to open up to you, then it’s imperative that they feel comfortable with you. Before you question them, be open about your intentions. For example, you could say something along the lines of:

“Mr Prospect, I’m known to be quite a straight talker. I say it like it is. Would you like me to be straight with you and ask you questions and then identify what I believe to be your problems? Or would you prefer me to beat around the bush? What would you prefer?” 

Your prospect will then tell you that they would prefer you to be straight with them. At this point, they’re clear that you’ll then be asking them some questions. Tell them that you’ll be asking these questions so that you can learn as much about them and their unique situation as you can so that you know where they are now, where they’re going, and what they want to achieve. Let them know that once you know those things, you’ll be able to provide an incredible amount of value to them- and at the end of the day, it’ll be win-win!


As I said above- the problem may not always be apparent to the prospect, so the only way to get them to understand where they are is to ask open-ended questions.

Your questions should enable you to understand the current situation that your prospect is in. Think about it this way – if you were to go to the doctor, he or she would ask you about your symptoms, in order to give you the best treatment. Fact-finding is essential, no matter what business you’re in! Be sure that you understand the answers that you’re given and ask further questions if necessary so that you’re clear.

Let’s talk about selling your prospect financial services. If you’re talking to them about their children and their education, it’s essential to understand whether or not university is a priority for them. Some people want their children to go to university, but for others, this isn’t essential. Ask the right questions so that you can understand your prospect’s thinking. If their child is currently going to a school that is a fee-paying school, then I would assume that the parent is keen on paying for a good education for their child. I would ask the following questions:

“What school did you choose for your daughter to go to?” 

“Why did you choose that school?” 

“Tell me more about the type of school it is?”

“What kind of fees do you pay at that school?” 

“Since you’re sending your child to a fee-paying school, are you hoping to send your child to university?” 

If it were life insurance that I was talking about to my prospect, then I’d ask questions such as:

 “What kind of allowances or preparations have you made to make sure that your spouse has enough money should something happen to you?” 

“What plans have you got in place to make sure that your family is protected?”

These kinds of questions are good fact-finding questions. We can establish where our prospect is and where they’d like to be. Some people might have thought about the future, but some people haven’t. There is no point in guessing. Instead, ask questions and learn.


If you’ve found this article useful, then check out my Facebook Live training on this topic. I promise that it’ll help take your fact-finding skills and sales success to the next level.