All questions are not equal.

All questions are not equal.
July 17, 2023

You may have heard the adage that there are no stupid questions. That may be true in some cases, but it is not true in selling. We’ve even professed that questions are a salesperson’s best friend, but not all questions. There are stupid questions, and we should avoid asking them.

If asking a prospect or a customer a question feels awkward, it may be because we have not earned the right to ask that question. Some questions can make customers feel vulnerable or offended. For instance, asking about their budget too soon can be selfish and off-putting. While it is critical to determine if a project has funding with a total budget, we have to obtain the information in a way that is not offensive to our customers. The best way to do it is to ask conversational and not interrogative questions.

We must remember that every customer has a story. We must ask insightful questions encouraging our customers to share their stories with us conversationally. This is not possible until we earn their trust.

We earn their trust by asking questions that are not self-serving. If you are only asking questions that help you fill out a quote form, you may be missing opportunities to connect with your customers in a more profound way compelling them to share information with you openly.

Be careful not to ask manipulative questions. These are questions to which you already know the answer. Questions like “Are you interested in saving money?” or “How would you like your for operation to be more efficient?” Avoid doing this. These types of questions eventually create resentment.

Instead, ask questions that inspire your customers to think creatively and explore ideas. This requires time and effort. Develop a list of questions now that start conversations. Remember, the word question comes from the word quest. And a quest is defined as a long or arduous search for something. There are no shortcuts. So take your time and prepare with meaningful and insightful questions.

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