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Quit Asking These 5 Questions!

For door-to-door sales reps, every second is critical when introducing a service or product. For me, from my initial approach to the time I get a signature on the agreement, everything I say has the intended purpose of helping me to sell or solidify the sale.

Although a conversational closing question after my initial approach such as, “How long have you lived in the area?” seems casual and possibly irrelevant to some, to me the answer to this question holds extremely valuable information. Once I know how long somebody has lived in their home I can customize the benefits of my service or product based on this information.

Even succinct and relevant ice breakers can assist in getting closer to making and solidifying a sale.

Thus, time spent asking questions or talking about anything other than items that will increase your odds of making the sale are like wasted movements jump shooters use to put up their shot. The longer it takes for the ball to leave the hand, the odds of that shot being blocked increase, thus a quicker, more streamlined shot that eliminates any wasted movement has a higher probability of scoring points.

As I’ve been on the doors training sales reps I often see wasted movements in the form of questions being asked to potential customers. If a question doesn’t get you closer to making the sale or help to solidify the sale it shouldn’t be asked.

The top five most meaningless questions I hear while training sales reps are the following:

  1. Is this something you are interested in buying?
  2. Have you ever thought about buying ____?
  3. Have you seen our trucks in the area?
  4. Have you heard of our company before?
  5. If I could save you some money would you be interested in talking to me?

You probably noticed that all of these questions are of the Yes/No variety, and for those that have read Door-to-Door Millionaire, you understand that these types of questions are the least effective types of questions because they are typically answered in the way you hope they aren’t answered.

No I haven’t ever thought about buying that.”

No I haven’t seen your trucks in the area.”

No I haven’t heard of your company before.”

Not only are these five questions ineffective because they are Yes/No questions, they also don’t get you any closer to making or solidifying the sale.

Let’s examine each question:

Question 1: If you are closing properly and assuming the sale, you don’t need to ask if they are interested in buying…you should already assume that they are.

Question 2: What does it matter if they’ve ever thought about buying what you are selling? That’s what your job is…convince them they need it!

Question 3: This isn’t a horrible question but I would suspect that most people aren’t observant enough to recognize a particular service vehicle in their neighborhood. Thus, when the potential customer answers with a “No” what has this question accomplished…absolutely nothing! An improvement would be to make an assumptive statement such as, “I’m sure you have noticed our trucks in the area as we’ve been taking care of the Larson’s and Sorensen’s…”

Question 4: Whether you are selling for a brand new start-up or the most recognizably named company in the world, this question does not get you closer to making or solidifying a sale. The reputation of a company isn’t in its name…it’s in the quality of its products or services and it’s your job to convince potential customers that your company’s products and services are superior.

Question 5: Aren’t most people interested in saving money? This should be an assumed premise and not something needing to be asked. A more effective way to make this point would be to say, “I’m sure like everybody else you would love to save a little money…” And besides, if you are confident and engaging, you shouldn’t need to ask permission to talk with anybody.

Everything you say throughout the sales process should have an intended purpose and meaning. Eliminating wasted movements by streamlining your questions and only asking those that get you closer to making and solidifying sales will prove to save you time and increase your closing ratio.