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The Art Of Not Answering Questions

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

You don’t have to answer a question when someone asks.

That’s something we were trained to do as kids, yet doesn’t serve us as adults and definitely doesn’t serve us as salespeople.

Think back to a time when you were brand new on an offer. If a prospect asked you a question, you didn’t have the answer.

You had to say something along the lines of: “I’m not too sure. Let me check. Can I ask though, is there a reason you asked that question?”

Yet, when we get a little more experienced on an offer, we can’t wait to impress the prospect with everything we know.

Only they’re not impressed. And we have to work harder for sales. And often make less.


We do not know why the prospect is asking, or even what they’re asking.

Let me give you two examples.

1. "What nights of the week are the group sessions?"

When you’re brand new to an offer, you don’t know. When you’re a month or so in, you energetically reply: ”Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 7pm!”

Only to hear: “Can’t do that. I charge my crystals Monday, have my kids Tuesday and run laps with my sister’s cousin’s dog on Wednesday.”

You now have a time objection to overcome.

Let’s contrast that with not answering the question.

Salesperson: “Ahhh, I know they changed that recently. I’ll have to double check. Just before I do, are there any nights you couldn’t do?”

Prospect: ”Yeah a couple”

Salesperson: “No worries. I know all the calls are recorded and accessible immediately. You can also submit questions for the coach to cover if by chance you can’t make it. Knowing that, would you be happy to watch it on your schedule?”

Prospect: “That works, thank you” - Every time!

Now think of how many times, and be honest, how many times you have created the time objection to overcome.

2. "Do you work with people like us?"

Let’s say you’re selling firm management SaaS for legal firms. The typical salesperson’s response is to eagerly list off all the other firms you work with that are similar.

But what does “people like us” mean?

Does it mean legal firms in general? Litigation lawyers? Compliance lawyers? Family Lawyers?

We must clarify.

Prospect: “Do you work with people like us?”

Salesperson: “People like us?”

Prospect: “Litigation lawyers that handle cases as high profile as we do.”

Imagine if you’d compared a company that prides themselves on status to a small family lawyer down the road? You would have offended them.

You now have the opportunity to pump up their ego and make them feel important.

How high profile are the cases?

What are some of their landmark cases?

How did they even get to that stage?

Do they see the firm scaling further?

If yes, what do they have in mind?

What features are important to them in a system to be able to comfortably operate at that level?

What does their current system do that helps them maintain this status, and what do they wish it did better?

Compare the responses and decide who do they buy from.
The person who offended them because they assumed wrong?
Or from the salesperson that clarified and spoke directly to their view of self?

Action steps

Write down the top 10 questions you get on a sales call.

List the way you would normally answer each one.

List the potential objections that can come on the back of your answer.

Now, list all the of possible reasons the prospect could be asking that question. The real question that is being asked.


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