7 Things You Should Never Say In Sales

 In Rural Sales, Rural Strategy

Traditional sales training has a lot to answer for.

Here are seven of the weakest sales questions we hear when training or observing rural sales teams.

Usually the reason these situations occur is because that sales person doesn’t know any better.

The quality of their questions show they haven’t been properly trained.

More often that not they have been left to their own devices and had to be rely on being self-taught on morsels of out-dated sales training goals that lost its relevancy a long time ago.

Here are the not so super 7 sales questions your rural sales team should never ask:

Fail #1: “What do we need to do to win back your business?”

This smacks of desperation and neediness which is a position you want to avoid in any negotiation. You want to be negotiating from a position of power like “Out of courtesy we wanted to let you know we are about to work with one of your direct competitors. Before we do that, are you sure we can’t find a way to work together again in some shape or form?”. Or try this one: “We have just captured some new industry insights specific to your sector that we think you would be benefit from knowing first before we share with the wider marketplace. As an acknowledgement to our previous working relationship would you want to see them before we show them to others?”.


Fail #2: “What keeps you up at night?”

You can’t bore your buyer into buying and any professional buyer will have heard this question a thousand times before. This question is painful for both parties. It’s a weak question and your prospect will feel disrespected and annoyed having to answer it. It shows that you haven’t taken the time to do your homework and ask them a specific question that can serve and assist them. A better question to ask is “What are the barriers to you achieving the results you really want?” or “What problem do you think you’re trying to solve here?”.


Fail #3: “What’s your biggest pain point?”

Only a pre-programmed robot asks this type of question. It’s a text book post-sales training question that’s highly predictable for your buyer. A better way to approach this is ask them what their future desired state is ie. “what does success look like for you?” and then get them to paint the pain through the impact and implication of not reaching that milestone. Far more powerful for them to pain their pain to you rather than you to them as it will really register with them this way. Plus you can then use loss aversion to point out the pain of not achieving their desired goal(s).


Fail #4: “What’s your budget?”

This one is shocker on two counts. Firstly you haven’t built the value or commercial context to build that budget. Secondly, you go straight to a dollar amount rather than value you could create. Work out what they value most. When they ask how much you say “We can answer that but before we do we we need to work out what it’s worth”. Commercial context is key. If you do need budgetary guidance ask them “Is there a range of budget parameters we need to consider here…? Great…we can make sure one of our options accommodates this amount for you.”


Fail #5: “Is now a good time to talk?”

Unless you have an appointment or they called you, the answer will be an automatic no. Using reverse psychology you can ask this instead: “Is now not a good time to talk?”. Because they are conditioned to default to a no then they have just made an agreement to talk. Then you can set the appointment quickly, courteously and then let them go.


Fail #6: “Can you tell me a bit about your business?”

It is your job to do your homework before the meeting not during the meeting. This question signals a lack of preparation, professionalism and planning. It shows your disinterest. You wouldn’t turn up to a job interview under-prepared so don’t do it for your sales interview either (note we say interview not meeting here as it’s a two way street). Respect your prospect by being the rural sales professional you are and research who they are, what they stand for and how you could help them.


Fail #7: “Do you want to know a bit about what we do?”

You make mosts sale before the sale. This comes in the way of positioning your business as an authority business. If they are your ideal customer, they should already know something about your business and thus why they agreed to meet you. Pre-selling happens through a consistent commitment to educational-based content that out-teaches to out-sell. Give them something to get something in return and create and publish useful and valuable content that builds your profile. Focus more on being found and less on finding.


There’s a re-occurring theme here.

When you ask your kids “How was school today?” and they promptly reply “good” it means you’re not asking the right question.

Even their little minds know instinctively that that question’s intent is more about serving your own needs rather than theirs.

A better question to ask them might be “What was the funniest thing that happened to you today?” or “Who did you have fun playing with today?” or “Who was the naughtiest kid in class today?”

Those questions get you into their world and out of yours. It gets you on their level and unlocks what matters to them most.

It’s the same for rural sales. You need to get into the world of your buyer by asking better questions.

PS. Do you need some help motivating your Sales Managers? We’ve just developed a specific Rural Sales Manager Mastery Programme to help you and them get the most from your rural sales team. Sales teams are only as good as their sales managers. We dedicated a whole blog to this subject which you can read here

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