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What a Stupid Question

Updated: May 26


Here’s a tip about questioning a prospect during the opportunity qualification segment of your sales campaign. Rather than focus on questions you should ask, this tip is about a question you shouldn’t ask, but many salespeople do. When it comes to sales opportunity qualification the “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” rule doesn’t apply, there’s plenty of them. And, asking a prospect “what keeps you awake at night?” is in my opinion, the stupidest (and probably the laziest) of them all. In the UK two thirds (67%) of adults suffer from disrupted sleep and nearly a quarter (23%) manage no more than five hours a night. (Source, Aviva Insurance, Sleepless Cities) So, if you ask this question, there’s a chance the person you ask it of will really be experiencing being “awake at night”. If they answer it honestly, they could (amongst other things) tell you it’s concerns they have about mental health, physical health, relationships, addictions, finances, job security and much more that's keeping them awake; It’s unlikely to be anything to do with the business project you’re discussing with them. In all reality, they probably won’t burden you with their troubles, but by asking the question, you will have put them in their mind and introduced negative thoughts into the conversation, which isn’t something you want to do. At best you will get a response of “nothing” or (as I once witnessed a colleague receiving) something flippant like, “the thought of salespeople asking me stupid questions is what keeps me awake at night”. So, keep your sales opportunity qualification questions focused on business, on the prospect’s current situation and the objectives they want to achieve from spending their money with you. There’s plenty of great questions you can ask that are neither stupid nor lazy, “what keeps you awake at night” isn’t one of them. #questioningtechniques #qualification #salestraining

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