Owing to the lack of poor advice and coaching being given to millions of sales consultants, misguided or inappropriate questions are asked to potential clients everywhere. Even though the intent behind such questions aren’t wrong and seek to provide brilliant solutions to specific problems, the way they are asked and the words that are used can often lead to adverse responses, thereby becoming deal-breakers. The most powerful sales techniques involve asking the right questions at the right time.
Here are some questions you should NEVER ASK your clients:
Are you the decision maker?
68% of sales reps aren’t with the person/decision maker who can actually answer the questions.
~ Objective Management Group
This question can hit prospects directly as it can be demeaning. It is not only asking if the prospect has the authority but indirectly assuming that he might not be the best person “in charge.” Also, this question might not always produce an honest answer. Regardless of the facts there is a high chance that the person is going to respond with an “I am.” This question also gives away the ultimate goal of making a sale a bit too directly, which might not be the goal for the client. They want convincing and compelling reasons to believe that your solution is what they actually need.
How is your business doing?
Before meeting with a prospective client, the necessary homework has to be done by sales consultants on business affiliations, customers, competitors, market and the way the solution fits in. Asking this question gives the impression that the sales person does not know much about the exact needs of the client and has come rather unprepared. Reps shouldn’t waste valuable time in meetings by asking trivial questions, the answers to which can easily be collected by independent research prior to meeting with the prospect. Basic questions about company can frustrate clients and sales reps will have lesser time and fewer opportunities to ask questions that matter way more.
What keeps you up at night?
58% of salespeople don’t ask enough questions – whether or not they’re the right ones.
~ Objective Management Group
This is one of the most clichéd questions of all times that need to be steered clear of! Such “sales”y questions are used over and over again and prospects know them by heart. If sales consultants keep asking such common and boring questions would drive away clients immediately and also make sales reps miss out on opportunities to learn about something new or probe further. Such questions make clients associate sales reps to the most stereotypical sales guy who needs to make a sale at any cost to meet his/her targets.
Why haven’t I heard back from you?
If a prospect is taking it slow, there are other ways of getting in touch, rather than bombarding them with questions that demean them, rather than motivate them to take quick action. The world is full of solutions and there is a lot of competition and quality out there. Prospects know they have variety to choose from and in today’s world, no one is going to put up with such responses from sales reps that induce any sort of shame or negativity in tone.
“I can offer you X% discount, will you then be interested in buying today?”
Such hypothetical questions involving discounts and attractive offers might seem to win the game, but they indirectly force the prospect to make a decision right away, and nobody wants to be put in such a situation when they are not ready. Forcing prospects to take immediate action through hypothetical scenarios might shoo them away, even if they were otherwise interested. Make sure your sales consultants stay away from this question!
Did we miss out on something? Add to this list your own set of horrible questions that sales reps should definitely avoid as per your experience.