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Salespeople, Please Stop Your Pitch Long Enough For My Questions, You Might Close A Deal!

by David Brock on July 22nd, 2009
You know this story, I’m sitting at my desk, the phone rings, I answer, and an enthusiastic voice: “Good morning Dave!, I’m Roger from XXX…..” The pitch begins.

This guy was selling a Sales 2.0 tool, which I actually had some interest in. I barely had the words, “tell me what you do” out of my mouth when the script started.

“Excuse me, may I ask a question,” I tried to inject, but the pitch went on.

“Would you please let me ask you a question,” he paused, I continue “you know if you give people a chance to ask a question, you might actually sell something.”

I ask my question, the pitch started again……

“Excuse me, may I ask a question…….” the pitch continued…..

“Have you ever considered listening to your customer and responding to their questions, it tends to work, I have a question, may I please ask it?” I say, a little indignantly. He pauses…. I ask my question…

The “recording” resumes…..

Once again, I say, “Please, are you hearing anything that I am saying? Would you please listen and answer my questions, I may want to buy!” I ask my question…..

You know what happened. The only way I could make it stop was to hang up.

In reflecting on the call, I struggled to ask about 4 or 5 questions. Each time I had to interrupt him—and I had to be aggressive about the interruption.

He only asked 2 questions…. I guess, “How are you today?” counts as a question.

I provided him valuable coaching advice 3 times during the call—normally I charge people for this, but I was feeling generous, plus I really wanted to learn about the product. I am serious about buying one of these tools.

Now where’s the number of his competitor?

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  1. Eric permalink

    Its very true.
    A sales boss of mine gave me simple yet great advice once: You have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Use them in that order.
    The best way to secure a sale is to make the customer feel like you are solving a problem or meeting a need thay have.
    You can only do that by listening to the questions they ask. The type of questions you ask in return depends on the quality of the listening you were doing.

    • Eric, thanks for joining the discussion. That old maxim is so true—but so difficult to execute. Hope to see you here frequently.

  2. Good reminder! The book, SNAP Selling, reminds of us this and focuses on asking questions, not selling…a great primer for new and old salespeople alike.

    Thanks for your post!

    • SNAP Selling is one of many outstanding books that remind people of the power of understanding what our customers need and value, and the importance of orienting our sales strategies to facilitating the customer’s buying process. Thanks for the comment Patrick!

  3. Michael La Vergne permalink


    This is all the difference between a true inside sales person, and a call center person. Dialog versus script reading. You need a call plan for sure, but some companies still hire contact centers hiring low level people unable to conduct a conversation, and they pay cheap for it. They end up with what they paid for: a poor/cheap image propagated in the market, and no leads of course …



    • Great observaton Michael–though I would add this is not limited to inside sales–too often we see field sales people doing the same thing. Thanks for joining the discussion.

  4. So true; yet many sales managers still swear by the scripted cold call strategy that doesn’t allow for any question time.
    After reading the book “Question Based Selling” by Thomas Freese, I have less patience for that type of caller. Great post, thanks!

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