Most salespeople do not ask enough or the right sales questions. While this is not good and can be having a negative impact on sales results, it is actually very understandable for few reasons.
Companies Don’t Train Salespeople to Ask the Right Sales Questions
If you looked at most new hire sales training programs, you would see most of the content that is provided will fit into these categories:
- Company info: Details about the company – history, structure, etc.
- Product info: Details about the products that the salesperson will be selling
- Internal processes: Internal sales systems and processes that the salesperson will need to use
- Sales methodology: A methodology to use when selling
That content could be spread across many hours and days. And if you really dug into what these programs include, they will rarely include clear instruction around what sales questions to ask.
You could say that the sales methodology piece will include education on what questions to ask. But usually they don’t. For example, a sales methodology section may talk about the importance of looking for pain when talking with prospects. But it might not provide the salesperson with the key questions to ask to identify if the sales prospect has the pain that they should be looking for.
Not Included In Foundation of Knowledge
When a salesperson is out in the field, they will rely on their core foundation of knowledge to tell them what to say and ask. If they went through a new hire sales training program that was centered around product and company information, this is what they are going to be talking about when in front of prospects.
This is how you end up with conversations where the salesperson spends most of the time talking about their own stuff (the products they want to sell) and they never stop to ask any sales questions. There are not any questions in their foundation of knowledge, only product and company information.
Lack of Interest
People usually talk about what they are interested in. If you have a particular hobby, you will have a lot of interest in that area and enjoy talking about it.
A salesperson has a hobby they are very interested in and it is the company they work for and the products that they think sell. They think about this stuff every day, maybe all day. This makes a salesperson more interested in talking about their stuff and less motivated to ask questions about something else.
Lack of Motivation
A salesperson will get paid when he or she sells their products and services. This very clear and direct relationship motivates a salesperson to talk about their products and services.
Even though a more powerful path to selling is to talk about the prospect, a salesperson might not see this indirect relationship as it is not the obvious path for them to get paid. Need to sell products, need to talk about products. This line of thinking can lead to a salesperson not ask the prospect sales questions as it does not align or match up with their core motivation drivers.