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May 21, 2021

Asking Questions Isn’t Selling …. Or Is It?

Asking Questions Isn’t Selling …. Or Is It?

Q: Why are so many bankers afraid of selling?

A: Because they do not want to be pushy, they dislike rejection and certainly do not want to “upset” the customer. They believe they are only there to serve and not sell.

Yes, I can see the irony of starting an article about “Questions” with a question …. but it is an important question …. as it cuts to the underlying reason WHY we all should be asking our customers more questions.

To truly SERVE your customers and create amazing customer experiences, it is important we attend to ALL their financial needs …. not just the immediate request.

This may include exploring financial needs, goals and benefits they may not be aware of.  Remember, it is reasonable to assume that you know more about financial solutions than your customer. So position yourself as someone who can provide advice that will make their life easier and better.

And you can only offer meaningful advice if you ask questions to uncover what advice they may specifically need.


You demonstrate more credibility by the questions you ask than by the information you give.


Thoughtful, genuine and carefully considered questions will impress your customers MORE than simply telling them about your latest product or solution.

How great does it feel when a customer says with a smile “Great Question” or ‘No One Has Ever Asked Me That Before” or “I’ve Never Thought About That” or “Thanks For Asking”.

Don’t simply TELL a customer about your products, about your features and benefits, about your bank and about yourself BEFORE you have genuinely explored whether they have a need or interest. Telling is NOT selling.

In fact, that is the type of “selling” you should be generally afraid of. So I agree …. DON’T DO THAT …. because it may appear pushy. It may increase the chance of getting a “no thanks” (ie. rejection). And it may upset a customer who doesn’t want to simply be told what is best for them.

All customers have needs, challenges and goals. They want solutions to help them with these needs, challenges and goals. But how can you help if you don’t know what those needs, challenges and goals are?

You ask questions. Lots of questions. ASKING is far more authentic than TELLING.

That’s how you truly serve and create amazing experiences.

You demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in helping a customer with ALL their needs by asking lots of poignant questions.

Not one question. Not two or three. Perhaps four or five or six. Or as many as it takes to uncover needs you can solve and provoke problems you can fix.

Only consider questions your customer can answer that enable you to ultimately make their life easier and better.

Believe it or not …. that’s what “selling” really is.

Asking questions is NOT pushy or inappropriate or upsetting. It’s being authentically helpful. And if you don’t want to call it “selling”…. you can simply call it “asking”.

Here are some other valuable reasons WHY we ask questions.

  • Develop Rapport & Get To Know Your Customer Better
  • Build Awareness & Educate
  • Demonstrate Credibility
  • Gain Commitment
  • Respond To Objections
  • Differentiate Yourself
  • Create Amazing Customer Experiences


Still not feeling comfortable about asking lots of questions?

Consider my handy tips below that will position you as a finance professional who is genuinely interested in helping your customer …. rather than a rapid-fire question-asking machine.

For more insights on how you can apply the above tips please watch my video at the end of this article.


EXAMPLES of questions you can ask to uncover broader needs:

Retail Banker Opening an Account

  • Why are you wanting to open an account today?
  • What other bank accounts do you have or have had?
  • What is most important to you when choosing a bank account (or a bank)?
  • When it comes to managing your finances, what do you wish you could do better?
  • How can we make it easier for you to do your banking?


Commercial Banker Arranging a New Business Loan

  • Why are you seeking a new business loan?
  • How will this help you achieve your business goals?
  • What are your long term business and personal goals?
  • If you had access to greater funding, how could that benefit your business and your life?
  • How do you manage your daily banking?


Mortgage Officer Processing a New Loan Application

  • How many times have you borrowed money to buy a property?
  • What are your biggest concerns about borrowing money and buying property?
  • What are your long term property investment and financial goals?
  • What advice have you received to achieve those goals?
  • If property values soared or you paid off this loan quicker, what would you do with the equity?


Those questions sound easy and helpful, right? And they will give you a better understanding of the customer’s broader needs, creating an opportunity to offer valuable advice and more specific solutions.

Asking thought-provoking questions is not pushy or aggressive. In fact, it’s helpful and valuable. 

Ultimately it doesn’t matter whether you perceive “asking questions” as “selling” or not. I would suggest that you recognize questions as a GREAT way to genuinely get to know your customer better so you can offer more help.

Now that seems like something your customers would appreciate and you can easily do.

What do you think ??? {notice I intentionally asked a question}


Check out my 8 minute video below for tips on HOW to ask engaging questions during a customer meeting.


Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For more advice on how to ask meaningful questions please email or visit the webpage

If you found the content valuable then please feel free to share this article with your broader network. Let’s help more bankers and salespeople achieve a better quality of life.