By Ryan Warren, Vice President of Market Development
The cardinal rule of sales should be: Don't irritate your prospects! It doesn't matter whether a potential buyer could use your services or not. If they cultivate a strong dislike for you during the pitch, they're unlikely to go with the company you represent. Sometimes when you're under pressure to close, you might phrase questions inappropriately, leading to the disdain of the people you're trying to impress. Avoid ruining the outcome of the sale before you've even begun. To start out, here are a few questions you should avoid asking:
Instead, you may want to dispense with the term "decision maker" altogether. James suggests asking instead, "who are the stakeholders?" Without bluntly questioning where the prospect falls in the chain of command, you can get an idea of who else you should talk to before closing the deal. Another idea, according to the Sales Excellence blog, is to ask "Once you make your decision, what are the next steps?" This will also give you a better understanding of the buying process.
Do your research, avoid provoking clients, and encourage conversation rather than being pushy, and you're likely to win the confidence of your prospective buyers.