One Question Not to Ask a Prospect

One Question Not to Ask a Potential Customer

by: Rob Reed

To truly be the best you can be in sales, it’s important to understand how your actions are perceived by buyers. This may be entirely different that what they tell you or anyone else from your company. Here’s a small example.

I met with a seller to discuss something Terrakon needed to purchase. The seller had been in sales for many years and was quite successful. Although it was our first face-to-face meeting, we had already exchanged numerous emails. We were meeting to clarify some outstanding questions, and after pleasantries we got down to business. One of the first questions out of his mouth surprised me.

“So, what exactly does your business do?”

From the seller’s standpoint, this was a logical question that could help him better understand my needs. Like most buyers would do, I dutifully answered, and we continued the meeting.

I’m sure the seller had only positive thoughts about his question and my response. As a buyer, though, my perspective was a little different.

My thought was that the link to our website had been listed under my name on each email we exchanged before our meeting.

It took me thirty minutes to drive to the seller’s location. It took another thirty minutes to conduct the meeting, which the seller had requested. The sale represented thousands of dollars to the seller’s organization and a nice stream of commissions for the seller. Yet, the seller did not take ten minutes to learn about my business from our website, even though the information was easily available.

Let’s assume everything else about the sale was equal, and a different seller said:

“I looked at your website last night, what an interesting concept. How did you come up with that idea?”

Which seller would win my business? In my mind, the second seller, every time.

Is this a small thing? Absolutely.

Will everything else ever be equal? Of course not.

But it is the small things you do, or don’t do, during the sales call and process that determines who wins and loses a sale.