Here are two good questions that you can use or adapt to your own situation.
The first question is designed to qualify prospects in a sales situation, where the prospect inquires about your products or services, but may just be fishing for information. This question helps separate real prospects from tire kickers, but it also provides valuable insight that can help close the real prospects.
1. What is your ideal outcome for this discussion?
This came from Harry Joiner an executive recruiter. This question may also be useful when trying to clarify the objectives of a new assignment. This question can also be turned around and used as to start a meeting effectively. The ideal outcome for this discussion is...
2. Do you have any reservations about hiring me?
Penelope Trunk in her Brazen Careerist blog suggests using this question at the end of a job interview to identify and address any kind of miscommunication and to get real feedback from the interviewer. This question can also be used in performance review discussions. Do you have any reservations about promoting me? Don't wait for the performance review, this needs to be asked well in advance. This question can also be adapted to elicit feedback on any kind of proposal. Do you have any reservations about this proposal? Whenever possible, I seek feedback on important proposals before submitting them. I can almost always improve my proposals by addressing reservations expressed by independent reviewers.