marketing & sales: Are You the Weakest Link?
During a recent sales training workshop I conducted with a client, we were discussing the importance of asking the right questions—high-value, high-impact, penetrating questions. One person spoke up and said, "When I'm talking to a new prospect I like to ask, 'What do you know about us?'"
An uncontrollable groan escaped when I heard this. But it got me thinking, what other ineffective questions are salespeople asking? Here are a few that I've heard over the years and still continue to hear.
1. "What are your needs?" Do you really think this question separates you from your competitor? This question makes you an order-taker, not a sales-maker.
2. "Are you the decision maker?" Although there is nothing technically wrong with this question, it usually results in a "yes" response. A more effective way to get this information is to ask, "Who else do you normally consult with on these types of decisions?"
3. "What is your budget?" Many people haven't established a budget or don't know what to budget for a particular purchase. Do them and yourself a favor and focus on exploring their problems and presenting a solution that addresses those issues.
4. "Do you want to save (insert money, time or another benefit)?" Don't insult my intelligence.
5. "Do you want this (XYZ feature)?" I don't even know what that feature will do so how can I possibly tell you if I want it? Oh, wait! If I say that, it gives you the opportunity to start talking about your product. Now I get it.
6. "Would you give me a referral?" I might if I knew what type of person or company you wanted an introduction to. Be specific and help your customer understand who would make a good referral.