- Blog post
Dangerous sales questions
One of my favorite sales stories is about the rep who called on a new prospect, noticed a photo on the desk and asked, “How’d you get your picture taken with John Madden?”
“That’s my wife,” the suddenly ex-prospect said.
You can ask a lot of dangerous questions in sales. For example:
“How ’bout them Yankees?” Oh, you’re a Mets fan.
“Are you familiar with our company?” Oh, you filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
“What are the company’s long-term goals?” Oh, the company’s for sale.
All of these questions are dangerous and all were asked because somebody didn’t think about the message their question was sending. And that’s what makes a sales question different from an ordinary run-of-the-mill question.
Ordinary questions are designed for one reason only: to get information. But a good sales question has to work a lot harder. It not only must get the information you seek, but also must provide information. It must communicate to the prospect that you are curious, prepared, knowledgeable and thoughtful. Prospects will decide whether to do business with you, at least in part, based on the quality of your questions. So never ask a question in sales until you’ve considered the message that it’s sending to your buyer.