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You’ve probably asked these before, and they’re doing more harm than good

We all know by now that you have to build trust with your clients. However, many sales reps are doing something that harms the trust-building process; they are asking the wrong questions. Sales reps are often taught to ask thought-provoking questions, deep questions, in order to do a good discovery process. The problem here is that it’s often unclear on what type of questions to ask, and then the questions are doing more harm than good. There are three types of questions that you want to avoid in your sales process. Now I have to warn you, these are three types of questions that have been taught for years. But if you think of things from the perspective of a prospect, you’ll see that these are questions aren’t building trust.

Rhetorical Questions

Don’t ask rhetorical questions. Rhetorical questions come across incredibly insensitive and almost patronizing to your prospect.  Imagine if you were a business owner and someone asked you, ”Is saving money or time important to you?” Of course it is. It’s a obvious question. You know the answer is yes, your prospect knows the answer is yes, and your prospect knows that you know the answer is yes. When you ask this question, and others like it, the answer you’re going to get is information you already know. You can fix this by asking it in a way that actually allows you to gain valuable information. Reword it and ask a question about time or money. “How are you currently handling X, Y, Z?””What are your goals for this time period?” Ask something that’s going to give you new information that you didn’t already have. You won’t be wasting your time or you client’s when you ask smart questions.

Sleazy Questions

The second type of questions you should avoid are typical sales sleazy questions. Look, this question should have been thrown away a long time ago, but I’m sure someone is still teaching them right now.”If I could snap my finger, what issue would you want me to fix?” Or, “What’s it going to take for you to purchase today Mr. Prospect?” These questions are forcing your prospect to make a decision. The counter argument is these questions allow you to gain want clarity. But here’s the problem with that. I’ve said this before: our prospect is smarter today than they’ve ever been before. It’s so important to keep that in mind in every step of the sales process. The time in the window that these sleazy sales questions work, has closed. It’s a new age of selling, a new age of buying. When you ask these cliched sales questions, I can guarantee your prospect has heard them before. And then you get lumped into that same group of salespeople— probably a bunch of salespeople who didn’t close the deal. You do not want this. This doesn’t end well for sales reps that make commissionable dollars.

Hypothetical Questions

Many years ago, these questions were designed to incentivize a decision process, to identify what was important to your prospect. A quid-pro-quo question is a good example. “If I can give you a 25% discount, would you do business with me today?” I give you something, you give me something in return. These hypothetical questions are a natural indicator to your prospects, that you are sleazy. Because if I could give you 25% off, I would give you 25% off. Hypothetical questions build a wall between you and your prospect. They prevent the prospect from trusting you. No one wants to feel like they’re being gamed and sold to. Your prospect is looking for trust and confidence. Like anyone, they want to to feel like they got a good deal. Instead of asking hypothetical questions, you want to create urgency and you want to find out what’s important to your prospect. To do this, use the law of reciprocity. If I give you something, you give me something in return. Of course it doesn’t always work that way, but you take the first step, you’ll find out for sure. Instead of asking a quid-pro-quo hypothetical here’s what I say.”Look, Mr. Jones, I can give you a 25% discount only if we can get business done today. I really want to do business with you, and that’s my offer.” I can guarantee this incentivized offer builds a higher trust factor with you than the quid-pro-quo example.

The truth is, sales is a long game. We’re told no more than we’re told yes. And if you want to have some accountability or you want to accelerate your sales to the next level, I highly recommend you get a coach in your corner, and you get connected with a group of like-minded people that will help you have thought-provoking questions. Don’t trust the old school sales manuals, they no longer work. Reach out to me today so I can help you do it right.

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