Usually, questions are a good thing in sales. A great question can make you look smart and curious. It can uncover a critical insight that will allow you to outsell your less inquisitive competitors. It can make buyers stop and think about what you sell in an entirely new light.

But there’s one question you should never ask: “So how are we doing?”

What could be wrong with that? Don’t good salespeople solicit feedback from their buyers?

Of course you should ask for feedback. But a vague, unfocused question like “How are we doing?” is a lazy and dangerous way to do it.

When you ask it, you put yourself on trial. And if the answer is anything less than “Fantastic!” you could be creating a disaster.

“How are you doing? Actually, not so good,” the customer says.

Oh. Now you have to ask more questions to find out, exactly, all the ways you’re not so good. And once you get the customer to go on the record with those complaints, he or she will feel compelled to defend them no matter what. (Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance.) Pretty soon, the customer’s on a roll; he or she starts coming up with even more complaints, even though you’ve stopped asking.

photo credit: chego101

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