Five Sales Questions To Always Avoid

Questions are critical in sales. Asking the right questions can keep the conversation moving forward. Asking the wrong questions can make you sound uninformed, damage your credibility and possibly shut down the discussion.

As a sales professional, you probably have a series of questions you always ask your clients and prospects. Some of them may seem harmless, but asking these isn’t doing you any good, according to Marc Wayshak, bestselling author and founder of Sales Strategy Academy.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Wayshak’s five questions that sales professionals should never ask a prospect.

1. “How are you?” Wayshak says this is a bad sales question because every other sales professional is asking the same question. People tend to ask it out of habit, without really caring how the other person responds. Wayshak recommends avoiding this question so you don’t send the signal that you are just like everyone else. Instead, say something that alerts the prospect that you are different from all the rest.

2. “What’s keeping you up at night?” According to Wayshak, this question worked years ago because not many salespeople used it. It’s not as effective today because it’s become so commonplace in their sales conversations. When you ask this question, the buyer is probably thinking, “Oh gosh, I’ve been asked this question a million times. It’s super salesy. It’s cheesy.” Aim to be more engaging and more specific, says Wayshak.

3. “What would get you to buy right now?” This question lays on the pressure and can make the prospect feel uncomfortable. Wayshak says they will likely resist, either by asking for a discount or just trying to end the conversation as soon as possible. Rather than asking this question, focus on your commitment to solving the prospect’s challenges.

4. “Are you the decision maker?” Another sales question to avoid at all costs is asking the prospect whether they have the authority to make the decision. By asking this question, you risk offending the other person. Imagine selling to husband-and-wife business owners and turning to the husband to ask if he’s the decision maker. You’ve probably just blown the deal. Instead of asking outright, slow down and find out how they go about making decisions, recommends Wayshak.

5. “Would a discount change your mind?” This question is the most desperate of them all because it makes the prospect doubt your value. Remember that if you lose a sale, it may not be based on price. Instead of offering to accept a discount, Wayshak advises using the sales process to create value.

Well-crafted questions are key to helping you uncover prospects’ problems and moving the sales discussion forward. If you typically ask the questions above, reflect on how you can adjust your questions to avoid sounding foolish or desperate.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Marc Wayshak is the founder of Sales Strategy Academy, best-selling author of Game Plan Selling, and a regular contributor to Fast Company, Entrepreneur and The Huffington Post business section.

filed under April 2021
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