Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as a stupid question

Despite what you may have been taught in the past, there IS such thing as a dumb or a stupid question in sales. I hear them all the time – both by the sales people that call me, AND while listening to the sales calls sent to me by clients. Occasionally in training workshops too. And it never ceases to amaze me that with all the great questions to chose from, why some sales people chose to alienate, disengage or confuse their prospects with the wrong questions.

Let’s review some of the worst here: 

Dumb questions to open a sales call with:

  • How are you?
  • Are you the person in charge of….?
  • Who makes the decisions about….?
  • What do you guys do?
  • Mr Buyer has been difficult to reach. Does he have an underling I can speak to? (I kid you not)
  • Are you looking to save money on your?
  • Who should I call to..?

Dumb Questions to ask during the qualification:

  • How’s business?
  • Tell me more about your business?
  • Are you looking to save money on..?
  • Who do you currently use to..?
  • Who do you compete with?
  • Who are your customers?
  • Who else should I be speaking to about this?

Dumb Questions to close a call on:

  • How is your credit? (this was the question that inspired this post. I heard it last week)
  • Can I send you information?
  • Can I send you a proposal?
  • Will you call me when you are ready?
  • Should I leave this information / presentation with you?
  • Can I bid on? or Can I provide a quote to…?

And one of the worst  is a question I heard in a training session last week. Sadly,  it came as advice from another sales expert. He suggested that in response to the objection “your price is too high”, you should ask…

  • So what? (seriously?)

The secret to smart questioning is to be thought provoking. If you simply ask prospects questions that you should know the answers to – because the information is on their website for example – you look like you don’t care, didn’t spend anytime preparing and, quick frankly…kind of dumb. The prospect will be board with the meeting, and with you quickly.

Asking questions are at the heart of any good sales approach. Your questions need to be open ended, close ended, diagnostic and exploring. I recommend creating a playbook of the right questions that you can review as a team regularly when preparing for sales calls. So with that in mind, what do you think the best questions are to ask during a sales call?

Dedicated to increasing your sales,