Smart salespeople know the value of stupid questions.
Not stupid as in, “So what do you folks do, anyway?”
But stupid as in, “So exactly how do you folks do what you?”
The first Stupid Question is simply lazy. You’re asking a question that you could have researched on your own. It says to the buyer, “I didn’t bother to do any homework. I’d rather waste your time asking you stuff I should already know.”
The second Stupid Question isn’t as dumb as it sounds. You’re asking for information that only the customer has. It says to the prospect, “I understand that every buyer is unique. I’m working hard to understand you.”
Most salespeople know better than to ask the first kind of Stupid Question. But not enough of them ask the second kind. The reason: They know too much. As the customer begins to describe her problem, the salesperson thinks, “Ooh, this is just like the problem I solved for Customers X, Y and Z. I know exactly what to recommend.” And like a kid who knows the answer in math class, the salesperson starts waving his hand in the air, begging for the customer to call on him.
It’s way too soon for that. The customer wants you to listen. She doesn’t care about X, Y and Z. She believes her problem is unique, and you need to understand it before you offer a solution. Which is why she wants you to ask those Stupid Questions.
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