The other night I walked into my house from a long day and greeted my wife with a barrage of questions. “Who’s picking up our son from school tomorrow? Are you going to workout tonight? Did you already eat dinner?” By the third question she snapped at me, “ I DON’T KNOW!!!! What’s with all the questions?” These questions don’t seem provocative. I was surprised by the reaction they garnered. But the fact of the matter is she did snap.
Many times in a sales setting when we ask prospects questions to gain information we do get push back. As the world of sales changes from a “features and benefits pitch” approach to a more consultative selling method that requires more questioning by the sales person, this pushback is inevitable. From the prospects perspective, even though they tend not to like a sales pitch, the fact of the matter is they are conditioned to it. So when you come in with a barrage of questions it takes them off guard and their defense wall goes up.
The very simple solution to this is to get permission up front to ask questions. Say to the prospect, “ is it OK if I ask you some questions in order to determine whether what we do is a fit for you?” Let them know you’re going to ask questions and they will be more open to a productive business conversation. It also works with your spouse. You just have to remember to ask permission. Lesson learned!
- Jim Mattei
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