Remember what your teachers used to say: “there’s no such think as a dumb question?”
Well maybe that’s true in most cases but in tele-sales there are some not-so-smart questions that you should avoid because they can act as real show stoppers.
Not-So-Smart Question #1: How are You Today?
Please, at all costs, avoid this question when you’re tele-prospecting. Please.
While YOU might think it’s a real rapport builder the vast majority of your prospects think just the opposite. When surveyed well over 90% of prospects feel that the question is trite and insincere. They find it ‘wastes time’ and puts them on their guard because it creates a stereotypical (and negative) image of an invasive “telemarketer” who is trying to sell them something. Is this how you want to start your cold call?
Look, if the prospect is telling you NOT to use this question, don’t use it. Simple as that. It doesn’t buy you anything and it can certainly cost you a lot in terms of credibility.
Not-So-Smart Question #2: Did I Catch You at a Good Time?
Don’t use this question either. Oh, I know the argument: it’s polite and not using it can be seen as presumptuous by the prospect. But be honest here, how many times have you asked this question only to hear, “no, it’s not a good time.” I’ll wager it occurs 99 times out of 100. When you ask if it is a good time you are giving your prospect a ready made excuse to terminate the call. Hey! Isn’t tele-prospecting and cold calling hard enough without you fueling the fire?
Instead, say this, “Jim, if I caught you at a good time, what I would like to do is ask you some questions, get a feel for your situation and see if we might (provide a benefit). Let me ask…”
By doing this, the prospect gets a ‘sense’ that you are asking if it is a good time (which positions you as courteous and respectful) but you aren’t really doing that. You’re asking if you can ask some questions.
Of course, the prospect can still object but you’ve made it just a bit harder to do so. And that gives you a slight edge and slight edges are might all you need.
By avoiding these two not-so-smart questions your ‘image’ will be a little less tarnished and you’ll increase the number of times a prospect allows you to continue the call.