Ask the Wrong Questions, Get the Wrong Answers! | radioinfo

Ask the Wrong Questions, Get the Wrong Answers!

Monday 21 October, 2019
Image: Shutterstock

Peady's Selling Engagement

Asking great questions as part of the sales process is critical. So, why is very little time allocated to ‘questioning’ as part of sales training sessions and sales meetings?

I suggest very few salespeople have ever done a training session on how to craft and ask great probing questions and develop a toolbox of useful discovery questions. This lack of skill development creates a significant gap in their sales armoury.

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

Zig Ziglar said: “Asking the right question and listening to the answer is a great relationship builder, which is important to the persuasion process

Why ask questions?

If you see yourself as genuinely ‘customer focussed’, the answer is simple. Asking questions helps to build rapport, develop a trust-based relationship, understand the customer’s business and their challenges or opportunities and creates a successful buying atmosphere.

BUT it comes down to asking the ‘right’ questions of the ‘right’ person at the ‘right’ time!

When you formulate your questions, you want to discover answers to the following:

  1. Budget or available funds and cashflow access to move forward
  2. Ensure you are talking with the person (or people) who can make a decision
  3. Find genuine and agreed needs or opportunities 
  4. Establish a timeline for implementing your proposal. Is there urgency? 



Good questions, bad questions
This comment from Jeffrey Gitomer sums it up: “Ask the wrong questions, get the wrong answers”. Maybe he should have added “or get no answers at all”?

I’ve seen it so many times while conducting in-field coaching. The salesperson knows they must ask questions, so they start with unrehearsed, unresearched, ‘soft’ ones.

  • Would you like to know more about us?
  • Are you the person who decides on …...?
  • Can you tell me more about your business?
  • Are you interested in saving money?

The key to getting the answers that you really need to help your customer are tied to ‘high-value questions’. Questions that help differentiate you from your competitors, demonstrate your value and position you as a consultant (not just another ‘rep’).

The greatest compliment a customer can give is to respond with “no one ever asked me that before”.

I have created a list of 50 discovery questions developed over many years of working with some great salespeople - most are media specific. If you’d like a copy email me

Until next week, good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at


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