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How To Not Look Stupid

“I don’t want to look stupid.”

Some salespeople are afraid to call their dream clients because they believe that they may be asked a question to which they lack the answer. They are afraid that by not knowing the answer that they will lose their credibility. In their worse fear, instead of being perceived as a value creator, they may be perceived as a time waster.

Like all fears, there is some real danger in looking stupid. But if you have to know the answer to any and every question your dream client may ask of you, you are always going to fear being stupid. The whole of human knowledge doubles every five years, and there is no way to keep up. The different questions that may be asked of you are limitless, and there is no way to anticipate or prepare for every question.

Fortunately, there are ways to not “look stupid.”

You Don’t Know Everything

First, don’t pretend to know everything. If you really want to avoid looking stupid, don’t answer questions for which you don’t know the answers. Nothing will ruin your credibility more than speaking about something you don’t know.

If you don’t want to be exposed as a time-wasting salesperson, then don’t pretend to be an expert in areas you don’t know.

You Are the Conductor

Second, when you are asked a question to which you don’t know the answer, say this, “That’s a great question. I don’t have an answer for you now, but I am going to get with my team here and get our best thinking on that. I’ll call you back this afternoon and tell you how we would answer that question and what we might suggest.”

The longer you work in one company or one industry, the more you gain the situational knowledge you need to answer your client’s questions. But you never have to know the answer to every question you might be asked.

As a salesperson, you orchestrate results. That means you are the conductor, not first violin. You are always allowed to lean our your subject matter and technical experts to serve your clients. Being resourceful enough to know how and where to get the answers your clients need is as important as developing situational knowledge.

  • What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a question your client asks?
  • How do you exercise your resourcefulness in helping your clients solve their biggest challenges?
  • Where do you go to get help answering your client’s questions?

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Filed under: Learning, Listening

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