There are so many bad questions salespeople ask, especially when prospecting and cold calling. Here are just two that I have smoked out from clients over the years and forbid the use of them; (unless you want to give sales away to your competition.)
First, stay away from asking, "Have you heard of our company?"
Reason being, if you are making a cold call, then you are already calling on them unexpectedly, interrupting what they are doing, and then you want to "pitch´ them? That´s your agenda. More important, you only have about 15-30 seconds to grab their interest. Now you´re talking about your company without giving them value. It´s now become your agenda vs. their agenda and the focus has shifted away from the prospect and on to you.
Use this time talking about THEM and the compelling reason/end results they can benefit from which will THEN open up a dialogue to discuss who you are and what you can do. However, this happens most frequently AFTER you ask your needs analysis questions. You´ll always have an opportunity to talk about your company later on in the conversation.
Second, when probing/qualifying your prospects, stay away from asking, "What is working for you?"
For two reasons:
1. See above. Limited time factor.
2. In their mind, it is reinforcing what’s working for them, which doesn’t move you closer to what they want to change. Since you want to encourage them to change what they are doing (by using you) you’re better off focusing on what doesn’t work. You need to find the problem and the pain that you can then eliminate, rather than providing them an opportunity to hear from their mouth why they like about their current vender, and thus, reinforcing the reason they should stay with them and end their conversation with you.