The importance of asking questions

The importance of asking questions

Last year, I had the pleasure of participating in a trade show event in which meeting planners were paired together with suppliers needing to promote their goods and services. A saleswoman from a promotional product company was busy promoting her items. She was eloquent, confident, organized in her approach and even utilized technology with an iPad to show samples of her product. I listened to her presentation and was initially impressed … until I watched her longer.  

She spent the first 15 minutes (of a 20-minute appointment) showing her passion and enthusiasm toward her product and barely gave the client a chance to speak. After the “data dumping” concluded, when the customer was finally permitted to talk, she learned that the customer had a relative in the same industry. Any purchases of giveaway items would most likely be made with her cousin.


What if this saleswoman had started the conversation by asking questions first? “Can you tell me about which promotional product company you currently use and why?” could have saved everyone time and money.

Have you seen a salesperson promoting a “kids program” to a customer whose attendees are in high school? 

Would you promote your refurbished racquetball court to a group of disabled veterans? 

Please share examples of when you’ve had salespeople just give you data without knowing anything about you. What could they have done differently?