Answering questions: #3 on the list of sales killers.

by | Success ideas for work and life


Answering questions is not a law. Where in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) , the US Constitution, any Bill of Rights, the Australian Constitution, the Bible, the Qu’ran, the Book of Mormon, the Analects of Confucius, the Upanishads or even a Marvel comic is it stipulated that it is a fundamental human right to have your questions answered by a salesperson?

Nowhere. You’re in the clear. You don’t have to answer. You can ignore the question. You can ask one of your own instead.

Answering questions is only good manners, isn’t it?

Your mother told you that. She is probably not a salesperson.

We mystery-shopped a tertiary course provider this week and asked one question. ‘Can you tell me about your course on … ‘ The person pressed the Go Button on their Blah Blah Blah machine and didn’t stop talking for 8 minutes.

Our caller was confused and left out of the picture. It wasn’t good manners at all. It was unprepared and uncoordinated  waffle, showing total disinterest in the caller.

That’s not good manners, Mother!

This is happening all day every day in your organisation. I can guarantee it. Want me to mystery shop you and prove it?

Answering questions shows you know your stuff, doesn’t it?

That’s what your teachers told you. But they probably weren’t salespeople either were they?

I say this all the time but nobody listens. P-l-e-a-s-e stop talking. Ask me questions about ME the centre of the universe, the nicest guy in the world, the only person I think about from dawn till dusk. Yes, I need  to know a few things about your product or service but I really want to know what it will do for me so ask me what I want done and THEN address that.

Answering questions is the best way to be persuasive, isn’t it?

That’s what your adoring auntie told you when she said ‘You could sell ice to Eskimos.’ But she probably wasn’t a salesperson either was she?

The only way to be persuasive is to get on the listener’s wavelength. You do that by responding to their questions by asking how much they want to know, how much detail they need, if they want the whole truckload or just a shovelful. Then you do as they ask and stop yourself halfway through a sentence and (as I said in the last blog entry) ask, ‘Is this what you want to know?’ Out of politeness, they will say yes, but you should press the issue and ask, ‘Is it really what you want to know, or wouldn’t you prefer me to shut up and just authorise the paperwork and get started with it today?’

Answering questions is for desperados and you’re not one of those, are you?

When you are desperate for a sale you fall into the trap of trying to talk someone into buying and you end up talking yourself out of it.

Leave a comment below and either confess your sins of over-answering, or dob in someone else who just couldn’t shut up (not by name of course).

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