Last week I was the recipient of some of the worst sales advice I’ve ever heard… “Never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.”

Never ask a question I don’t know the answer to? I suppose that would be good sales advice if I knew everything about each prospect, client, and situation. But how could I possibly know everything?


Today’s Buyers are No Dummies

Buyers may be overworked, stressed, and have a thousand priorities, but there is a high probability they know more about their specific situation, goals, dreams, and problems than I do. Long gone are the days when they don’t have access to more information than they know what to do with.

Buyers do want professional sellers who know a lot about what is important to them, solutions that can help them, trends, etc. The nuance though, to be a successful collaborative seller, is using your expertise in a way that supplements, confirms, and builds upon what THEY know.

Make the time you have with your buyers valuable. Don’t ask them for information you know or tell them information they already know.

Sale Reps Are the Value Differentiator

Sales reps who guide and lead buyers through their decision making win.

Professional collaborative sales reps:

  • Research to learn what they can from the “outside” before each conversation.
  • Review previous notes and background detail for existing customers. Status of past orders, calls into customer service, etc. are all important so you aren’t blind-sided.
  • Prepare for the conversation using the information to:
    • Identify the questions that need to be answered… whether for their personal benefit or for the buyers’ benefit (to help them in their decision making).
    • Prepare the materials and information you may need in order to educate and supplement.

Now that you are equipped for a collaborative conversation, use the information as context and segues into questions and conversation points in the conversation to:

  • Confirm what you’ve read is true. You might ask, “In looking at previous notes, you mentioned that xxxx was a priority for you, so that we spend our time on what is most important to you, what’s your progress on xxxx at this time?”
  • Clarify information you’ve researched or heard before. You might ask, “Throughout your industry, it seems xxxx is impacting operations. What are you experiencing in this area?”

With this type of preparation and focus in conversations, I should learn more than I did when we started. This new, clarified, or confirmed information is what is going to help me match what we have with their specific situation to win the business.

The conversation and information sharing also helps the buyer:

  • Cut out the irrelevant data and details they don’t need to make a decision.
  • Increase their confidence in making a decision.
  • Identify the value they will receive from your solution and working with you.

Those are all good reasons to ask questions that we don’t know the answer to. So, thank you, Dan, for some of the worst sales advice ever shared. It confirmed how easy it can be to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the pack.

An Opportunity to Develop Best Sales Habits

genuine-sales-trans-250w Skip the worst advice and focus on best practices to accelerate your sales success with our habit-building, income earning, sales course – Genuine Sales.

The first ever live-facilitated virtual Genuine Sales begins October 18th. Details here. Or call me to discuss your situation and whether this course will be beneficial to you or your team 414.235.3064