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An elite salesperson spends a significant amount of time asking questions, particularly open-ended ones. Then, they use the responses to those questions to frame their pitch. But there are questions you should never ask during a sales pitch, or else you’ll leave empty-handed.
“Can I Be Honest for a Second?”
Most rookie salespeople use this phrase to convince the client to lower their guard. Unfortunately, the opposite happens, causing the prospect to raise their guard higher. When a salesperson says this, it implies that they haven’t been forthcoming the entire time. Painting yourself as a liar with your own line of questioning is a major faux pas. What if the client says no? Would you continue being dishonest? Do your best to avoid this question at all costs.
“Is This Offer Affordable?”
The phrasing you use is important when trying to get intel on the client’s budget. The goal of asking, “Is this affordable?” is finding a price that makes you and your client happy. However, it’s also an intrusive question that many people find offensive. Try a more subtle approach like, “How would this affect things elsewhere?” You’ll still get the answer to your question in a less obvious and rude way.
“Do You Make the Decisions?”
In a perfect world, a salesperson cold calls a customer or writes an e-mail to the head honcho who makes the decisions on buying. But we don’t live in that perfect world, and a salesperson may have to jump several hurdles before getting to the person in charge.
Nevertheless, asking anyone, “Are you the decision-maker?” is short, condescending, and downright disrespectful. The point of contact will relay this information to the decision-maker, and you will be in an uphill battle to close the sale because of your impolite questioning. Instead, ask about their buying process and who is involved in making the decision.
“Can We Offer You a Discount That’s Enticing?”
If a pitch begins to unravel, salespeople tend to panic and attempt everything to pull the prospect along. However, put yourself in the position of the prospect. How would you respond if a salesman asked you, “Would a discount sway your decision?”
This query reveals a lack of confidence and makes the prospect question your merit. If you have lost a sale, it was probably not due to the pricing. Therefore, requesting a discount comes across as “salesy” and distasteful.
After learning what questions you should never ask during a sales pitch, you can alter your spiel to avoid them. Don’t let yourself sound inexperienced next time you’re on a call.