My 8th grade history teacher used to say, “The only stupid question is the one that wasn’t asked.”

When I left my corporate job of 13+ years in October 2015, it was so I could build sustainability for my non-profit and spend more time developing my speaking business. I consider it a giant step rather than a leap of faith and much progress has been made over the past 12 months.

While I remain steadfast towards those efforts I’ve taken on a part time position to help a local company build their business in the engineering, construction and architecture markets. It’s a wonderful opportunity to repurpose 13+ years of sales experience.

Although the 10 principles to sales success remain the same, there are fundamental questions that must be answered so you continue to gain momentum. If you’re new to sales or trying to break ground into a new market, you should know the answers to this 6-pack of dumb questions.

  1. Which department is your product/service best suited for?

You must first identify the correct decision makers and/or departments that have the authority to purchase what you are selling. If you are unsure pick up the phone and ask or schedule a meeting. Assumptions can be costly and lead you to dead ends.

2. What are the benefits of your product/service?

Know your products and services inside and out. Make sure you understand and can clearly explain the benefits of what your business offers and the problems they solve. If a prospect asks a question you are uncertain of the answer, be honest and commit to following up with them after you’ve consulted with other members of your team. Sometimes the answers to the tough questions are worth waiting for. Plus it’s a great excuse to re-engage.

3. How is your product/service different/better than the competition?

Unless your business has a revolutionary turnkey widget, you must be able to identify and clearly articulate how you’re different. There is always an angle. Find it and work it!

4. Why should they buy from you?

The keyword in this question is “you”. Build a rapport of trust and always deliver on your promise. Even if it’s a follow up e-mail or call it’s the little things that count. Prove you’re dependable. Show them you will go above and beyond with the little things.

5. When is the right time for them to buy?

Buying cycles vary depending on contracts, event dates and budgets. Don’t be shy and always ask when you can follow up to earn an opportunity to earn their business. If you invest the time to prepare your likelihood to score increases.

6. Where is the best place to follow up with your prospect?

Favor the communication preference of your prospect. Ask them. Whenever a prospect grants you permission to follow up with them ask them if they prefer phone, e-mail, Linkedin, carrier pigeon, etc. But when it comes to closing the deal face-to-face or a phone call is always your best bet.

If you can nail down the answers to the 6 dumb questions above (especially questions 3 and 4) then you’ve constructed a solid infrastructure for success.

Right, Lloyd?