In sales, there is a fine line between being simply curious and conducting an interrogation. The consequences of going over the line could cost you the sale, lose your business or worse lose a loyal customer for life.

Remember, sellers are looking for information that we can use to help our customers – not a confession. So why sales professionals treat many of your prospects as suspects rather than partners valuable?

The key to staying on the right side of this line lies in the questions you ask, and especially how you ask them to customers or prospects. The present five tips to help you make sure you are being perceived as a problem solver rather than an inquisitive interrogator uncompromising. This will help improve your sales process when making these important questions.

1. Pause and listen.

Let’s be honest – Do you really listen to what their customers have to say or just want to ask questions? If that sounds a bit familiar, do the following. Count to three (at a normal speaking pace) every time your prospect finishes talking.

This will give you enough time to collect the thoughts of the prospectus and continue to listen if he or she has not finished. The pause also helps corroborate his client did not continue talking.

2. Support what you say only when told by the prospectus is valuable to you.

Before you ask your next question, make sure to thank your prospect to the information already provided in response to the above. It is not always easy for a prospect to open your thoughts, especially in the early stages of their relationship.

While this approach can yield great results, do compliments or false expressions of gratitude. This can be very annoying to the prospectus and terminate the interview or alienating to continue answering questions.

3. Take notes and ask for clarification.

To make sure you remember the details as well as the substance of what a customer is saying, take notes, and ask them to clarify something that is not fully understood. Remember, in sales, his best friends are “why”, “how” and “why.” Use them often for additional information of their customers and then do not forget to document your answers.

4. Paraphrase.

To be sure you really understand what a customer says, repeat it back to them understood, using their own words and their interpretation of what you have understood. Then finish with a question, to get your confirmation that your interpretation is correct now.

5. Watch your tone

It amazes me the number of professionals who ask questions even your most promising customers or prospects in a tone that sounds downright aggressive or belligerent accuser. If you have had the feeling of being a little aggressive with your questions, practice with a colleague to see if you sound funny or interrogator.

If this is not an option, take your manager or supervisor to one of his interviews, and ask your honest and constructive feedback. The way you react to your prospects questions based not on what you ask, but how question. Find out how sounds can make the difference between being an average salesperson or not.

Experts agree that the most successful salespeople listen to 70% of the time, and talk only 30%.

Now you can add to your tool these five tips to get the information you need from your potential customers, creating an open and start building profitable long-term relationships with their customers.