Open and Closed Questions


Closed Questions

One definition of a closed question is that it can be answered with a yes or no. Closed questions also have the following characteristics;

• They are fact finding.
• They are easy to answer.
• They are quick to answer.
• The questioner keeps control of the conversation.


Open Questions

Open questions have the following characteristics;

• They ask the respondent to think and reflect.
• They will give you opinions and feelings.
• They hand control of the conversation over to the respondent.
• The often start with a How, What, Why, When or Where.


How to use them.....

Given too much thought in the early stages, the use of such questions can be very confusing.

An easy way to start using them effectively is to use a few closed questions when first meeting somebody, (we do it anyway without even realising it), but move on to open questions when we want to find out more. This pattern can be repeated throughout a conversation.

If you have a particular stage of a sales process where you are often rejected, it is worth considering the type of question you asked at that particular moment. Evaluation and practice is key here, and it is worth taking 'time out' to consider these points.

Focus more on the type of answer you want, and less on which type of question to use. When you are in control of the questioning process, and are clear what information you want, asking the correct type of question, and using positive statements becomes much easier.