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Want to Close More Sales? Start Asking Stupid Questions

| April 28, 2015

They say there is no such thing as a stupid question… So why do we not ask more of them?

Good salespeople have good answers , but great salespeople have great questions!

It is not unusual to feel hesitant about asking, what may seem to be an obvious or even a stupid question.  There is a common belief that asking obvious questions could make us look unprofessional or incompetent, like we do not know what we are doing.

Say a potential customer is asking you for specs or pricing and you were to say “Sure – I can get that for you, but can I ask… why do you want this information?”

Right there, most of us would feel hesitant asking what could appear to be an obvious or stupid question.

They are asking for specs and pricing, because they are thinking about buying.  Well – maybe, but here is what definitely happens when we ask what may seem to be an obvious question.

No guess work – we get their reasons for why they want this information and most importantly, it opens the door to new and better questions.

Think about it – our prospect could respond with some version of “I’m looking to replace a specific piece of equipment, because…” or “We have been working with the same vendor for the past 20 years and we want to make sure they are still priced competitive…”

Whatever the answer, we now have more information and can ask better and more specific questions.

Think about this example… using that quote “Good sales people have GOOD ANSWERS, but great sales people have GREAT QUESTIONS!”

When your competition hears a request for information and pricing – they get to work giving great answers, hoping they are the right answers.



Going the other way, asking what on the surface may seem to be a stupid question – will actually gives us more information and the ability to ask more specific better questions.

Here is what else happens.  We are identifying potential pitfalls.

Have you ever given someone too much information and slowed the process down as a result?  How about getting to specific too fast, confusing the situation, using industry slang and buzzwords that they do not understand?

We are also making use of “people do things for their reasons – not necessarily the right reasons”.

When someone explains their reasons to us – the effect is that they feel like we understand where they are coming from.


Because the best ideas are the ones we actually use… Let’s do some MST:  MINDSET – STRATEGY – TECHNIQUE

Mindset is the “WHY” – The reasons and attitude we bring to what we do.

Asking stupid questions is rarely that.  Just because the answer may seem obvious to you, does not mean they are obvious to them and more importantly – the answers to the follow up questions, usually leads to good information for you.

Strategy is the “HOW” – How can we put this idea into our business today or next week.

When we question the obvious, we slow things down by taking control of the conversation and we begin to uncover the why behind the what.  Our solutions are only as valuable as the problems they solve.

Answering the questions about specs and pricing solves the problem of not knowing how much.

If we want to increase the value, then we have to start working on higher value problems.

Technique is the “WHAT” – What we can specifically do to make this idea work in our business.

Ask the obvious or stupid questions.  These show up when we believe we should be able to figure out the answer without being told.  It is harder to do, than you might think.  What are some of the common initial questions people ask?  The next time you hear one, instead of launching into the answer – stop and ask why they would want to know.


Let your competition give good answers without knowing if the answers they give are helping or hurting the sales situation.

You… start asking great questions and increase the value of the problems you solve.




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