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Dumb Questions to Ask a Customer – Part One

After listening to a series of questions from a salesperson recently, I wondered how many other salespeople have this disease – Asking Dumb or Stupid Questions with Customers or Prospects. And, after talking to a few at a sales meeting, it appears there are more than I thought asking these questions.

So here are three questions I hear often:

  1. So, what do you do around here? This is the bozo question of all time and I’ve heard it often. As a business owner, it is the one question that causes me to actually ask the salesperson to leave. I know at that point this salesperson has done zero homework and knows “nothing” about my business. And, often this question comes immediately after they have announced how they are going to save me 25 to 35%. How can they save me money when they don’t even know what I do?? I nominate this as Stupid Question of All Time.
  2. Who are your major competitors? Again, the salesperson is showing no research, study or even thought – not even a Google or Yahoo attempt to learn about their customer. Look, customers expect professional sales people to have some knowledge about their business before they show up. I have had sales people tell me that asking this question was the only way to learn who the competition was. Limited thinking in my opinion. Research the Internet – there are numerous sites for business research. Find an individual who actually enjoys research and get them to find information on the customer or prospect. Know something about your customer or prospect so you can ask more important questions about their business, issues that are keeping them up at night, discovering the cost of problems – not just the direct costs but the indirect costs and cost related to other functional groups, etc. – so a ROI can be determined.
  3. Do You Want to Buy Anything Today? Actually it’s usually worded as “You Don’t Want to Buy anything today do you?” Holy Batman! This is a candidate for the Dumbest Question of the Year. Yet, day after day, salespeople ask a customer this “dumb” question. Why do they ask it? First, from a technical point of view it is a close ended question with a high probability of risk that the answer will be NO. Thus, closing the conversation with the customer and no possible action commitment. Second, it is a question used by price sensitive salespeople who actually helped create the commodity world we have to work in today. Finally, it shows a total lack of professionalism on the part of salesperson.

There are my top three Stupid and Dumb Questions asked by salespeople. Learn to do the homework necessary to ask validation questions (which shows you did your homework before getting there.) and then focus on more important questions. For a complete understanding of the types of questions you should be asking – get a copy of my book or eBook – Three Games of Selling. The second game – the Active Game – shows you the types of questions that are important for sales success. Get this book today and move to the head of the line with customers and prospects.

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Voss Graham

CEO / Sr Business Advisor at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Voss Graham is an Organizational Architect with 30+ years of experience designing sustainable business growth for organizations of all sizes. Creating the Strategic Focus with the Executive Leadership Teams, he uses Systems & Process to ensure the Drivers for Business Growth are Executed at the Highest Levels. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings - contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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Voss Graham

Voss Graham is an Organizational Architect with 30+ years of experience designing sustainable business growth for organizations of all sizes. Creating the Strategic Focus with the Executive Leadership Teams, he uses Systems & Process to ensure the Drivers for Business Growth are Executed at the Highest Levels. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings - contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.