Asking the right questions is extremely important. But once you know what questions to ask, actually asking them in the right order is hugely important! It definitely happens in customer service, but it can do even more damage in sales. It's amazing how often I see salespeople ask the right questions, but in the wrong order.
Let's look at uncovering the decision maker as an example.
Every sales program I know of tells you that you need to uncover who the real decision maker is. Chances are decent that you're not talking to the actual decision maker, so it's absolutely beneficial for you to know who makes the final decision.
How do you think that looks if you ask it in the wrong order? Imagine that you walk into John's office, and immediately ask, "John, are you the decision maker?"
Even if John is the decision maker, if you ask that question the wrong way or at the wrong place in the conversation, you're done.
In fact, he may be the decision maker, and may have just made the decision to throw you out of his office!
In other cases, it may seem fairly black and white to you. You know what information you need from your prospect to determine if you're the right fit for them, and if so, what they actually need. So why not just ask the question?
Just because it's black and white to you, doesn't mean it isn't a tough question for them to answer. And if you ask those tough questions before someone is comfortable with you, you might have just blown any chance of them ever becoming comfortable with you, and blown your sale along with it.
So once you determine the right questions to ask your prospects, make sure you know which ones really need that higher level of trust from them. Then be sure to ask your questions in the right order.