While knocking doors yesterday in Minnesota I was reminded of 3 questions that I’ve heard sales reps ask repeatedly that almost always result in lost opportunity.
“Is this something you’re interested in?”
As a salesperson you should always assume the person is interested in what you are selling. Asking this question gives the potential customer an easy way out. They simply have to answer “no” and at that point your chance to recover is slim to none.
“Do you have pests?”
Suppose you are selling a house cleaning service instead of a pest control service, the question might be, “Does your house need cleaning?” Rarely will potential customers readily admit to needing the very thing you are selling. This type of yes/no question is a surefire way to lose the opportunity to make a sale.
“Have you ever thought about getting a ______ (insert service or product here)?”
It’s likely the potential customer will not answer affirmatively and if that’s the case, where does a salesperson go from there? This question essentially paints you into a corner and gives the potential customer an easy out.
These 3 questions are all of the yes/no variety and should be avoided. Nevertheless, when salespeople get nervous or lazy, the yes/no questions seem to surface ad nauseam. If you find yourself asking yes/no questions, write the question down and figure out a way to ask it in a manner that will help you find out or assume something.
For example, “Have you ever had a cleaning company perform a deep clean on your house or do you typically clean your own home?” Or, “During the summer, do you see more spiders or wasps in the eaves of your home?” Or, “How do you think a home security system would benefit your family the most?”
By mastering the art of proper questioning you give yourself the opportunity to facilitate discussions with potential customers which ultimately results in an increased opportunity to sell them the product or service you are offering.