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Never Forget to Ask Follow-Up Questions

Today Tibor Shanto, CEO of Renbor Sales Solutions and co-author of SHifT (a book on trigger events), shares how his own expertise actually hurt his sales success. It's hard to believe that you can be too smart in this business, but as you'll soon discover, it can happen.


When I first started out in sales, like many, I was more ego-driven than knowledge or experience based. Whenever someone said something, I knew exactly what they meant. All they had to do was say one thing and I could picture, in my mind, how the whole conversation would unfold.

This worked well -- until things stopped happening as I pictured them.

One particular instance, I was asked a specific question by a prospect. I "knew exactly" what he wanted to learn about -- and the perfect response that would win me the deal. 

I delivered my answer, and was never invited back. 

I blamed it on "stupid client." But my manager wouldn't let me off easily. He asked if I followed up with the buyer to clarify where he was coming from, what he was trying to understand, and why he was asking that question. 

Of course I didn't. After all "I knew those things."  The question my prospect asked was related to whether the service should be hosted or onsite. Rather than drilling down, I delivered what I thought was the right answer. 

After losing the deal, I circled back to find out what went wrong, and what I could have done differently.  It turned out that they'd had a bad experience with a hosted solution. If I'd drilled down on the spot, I could have learned that right away. And, my response would have been completely different.

Since then I developed a routine of always asking 3 – 5 follow up questions I ask every time no matter how simple or complex the question and related situation is.  As an unanticipated added benefit, it has helped put me in the light of an interested partner, rather than a one track vendor.

Click here to learn how Renbor Sales Solutions can help you sell better and achieve sustained growth.question marks


YOUR TURN: Have you ever been too smart for your own good? What happened? Share your story in the comments section of my blog.

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More Stories By Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath’s career is defined by her relentless search for fresh sales strategies that actually work in today’s business environment. She loves to work on tough sales challenges, big issues and unsolvable problems. Her first book, Selling to Big Companies, was hailed as an "instant classic." Fortune selected it as a "must read" and it's been an Amazon Top 25 sales book for 4+ years. Her newest book, SNAP Selling, was just released to rave reviews. She also writes a popular blog and publishes a leading newsletter. As an in-demand speaker an annual sales meetings and conferences, Jill helps sellers crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win more business. Her clients include IBM, Microsoft, Hilton, Accenture, 3M and Staples. Her expertise is frequently published in top business media such as ABC News, Success, Inc., WSJ Start-Up Journal, Entrepreneur, New York Times, Business Journal, Selling Power and Sales & Marketing Management.