ATTORNEY: Now Doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys? 
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?  
WITNESS:  Your Honor, I think I need a different Attorney. Can I get a new Attorney?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished. 



From “Disorder in the Court” by Charles M. Sevilla.

 In fact, there are stupid questions.

If you have learned P.L.U.S.H. Selling you have learned the process of Jeopardy Selling. This is conducting all or most of the sales call using questions. Communicating with questions is more effective than using statements since:

  • The human mind cannot not respond to a question
  • Questions function at the subconscious level
  • Effective questions can cause customers to tell us things they did not intend to

As you can see above, there are, in fact, stupid questions.

Trial attorneys are taught to use questions rather than statements. A statement might be deemed “leading the witness” or it might limit the quality of the information revealed in the courtroom. For more insights on this, watch television reruns of Perry Mason.

Sales professionals benefit from asking questions, especially when the questions are smart ones.

Ineffective – or stupid – questions de-position us, do not bring us quality information, differentiate us in a negative way, provide no insight into what solution we might offer and certainly do not help the customer. In other words, as important as Listening (The “L” in P.L.U.S.H. Selling) is in the sales process, the wrong questions are actually “anti-P.L.U.S.H.” activities.

So, how do we avoid asking stupid questions? Pre-Call Planning. Yes, I know, I mentioned Pre-Call Planning  twelve or more times during my presentation. When people call with sales problems, most could have been prevented with Pre-Call Planning. So, just how important is Pre-Call Planning? It is essential.

The in-depth training is available online using the links below. If you just want the essentials, here they are:

  • Begin with a list of what you need to know in order to close the sale
  • Develop questions that will cause the customer to give you the information you need
    • What they are thinking
    • Their buying criteria
    • What they need to learn
    • Use your questions to teach them what they need to know to make the right decision – which is to buy from you right now

Obviously you will not be able to think of these questions while sitting in front of the customer or even while driving to the customer’s location. Pre-Call Planning is an essential, intentional, early-stage activity for any sales call.

Remember, there are no casual contacts with customers. Pre-Call Planning equips us to make the most out of any customer touch by asking smart questions.