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Dumb Questions to Ask a Customer – Part Two

Yesterday I gave you my top three of Dumb and Stupid Sales Questions. Today, I will provide you with my runner-ups that are also Stupid and dumb Questions that should not be used by sales people. First I want to share why asking Stupid or Dumb Questions is really bad for your sales success. There are several reasons and here are a few of the critical reasons.
  1. You will not differentiate yourself from the other inexperienced or bad sales people. You will be just like the thundering herd of sales people who ask bad questions and bore the customer or prospect.
  2. It will be more difficult to transition into the really good questions that help a customer or prospect. When the customer hears the same old questions or dumb questions, you lose rapport with the buyer – who often start asking about price so they can tell you that your price is too high – and you will believe the buyer and leave. The buyer accomplishes their mission of getting rid of the boring sales person.
  3. Poor questions lead to the customer or prospect taking control of the interview or conversation placing you back in the commodity bubble. Again, when the questions become boring or common, the buyer loses focus and interest. When this happens they take back control by asking questions they want asked without you having the insight of their responses and information. A bad situation gets worst and you lose.
Okay, it’s time for some more stupid and dumb questions:
  1. What are your goals? This is a bad question when asked too early in the process. This is a high risk question if rapport and trust has not been established. Some buyers will tell you it is none of your business and some will actually terminate the meeting at this point. Questions about goals should only be asked after rapport and trust have been established and more important questions have been asked and answered.
  2. Who makes the decisions to buy around here? Duh! High risk question, especially with certain behavioral style buyers who will see this as a direct attack upon them. The most probably answers will be – that they make all the decisions (usually followed by a statement of not going around them if you know what’s good for you! – which is a clear signal you are talking to the wrong person.) or “Other people or a committee is involved, but I will be presenting your solution and will recommend it probably.” Or you will get a person who takes offense to this type of question and just ends the meeting. Eliminate high risk questions.
  3. Do you want some information on this product or service? You are assuming a positive answer – yet since it is a close ended question you have a 50-50 chance of a NO. Then what do you do? Use questions that create enough interest and curiosity that they ask you for the information. By the way, unless they ask you for the information, anything you give them will probably wind up in file 13. Drive interest and value and they will be asking you for more than just flyers, brochures and information sheets.
  4. How has your performance been over the past three to five years? Look, this is the type of information that you can find from other sources. Don’t expect your customer or prospect to get very excited about answering a question about their performance. The truth in today’s environment is that results and performance will be down over the past year and a half. Instead, focus on things that they actually have more control over including what issues are they most concerned with correcting. What impact have these issues had upon their results?
In summary, beware of any questions that only assist you when answered. These are detail oriented questions and the answers can usually be uncovered prior to meeting with buyer. The second thing is to be aware of the number of close ended questions with yes or no answers. These can be very high risk if the buyer gives the wrong answer for you. Finally, ask questions that force the buyer to think about the answer and then ask another question for clarification. Asking for clarification of details, facts or common word phrases, shows that you are paying attention and are actually interested in understanding the customer’s needs. If you want to learn more about the different types of questions for sales people to ask, just contact our office at 901-757-4434. Another source is to read “Three Games of Selling.” You can get more information or the book or ebook here.
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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.