I’ve been asking some pretty silly questions lately. Well .. I don’t think they are silly. There are some things I simply don’t know or am unclear on and in many cases, the most efficient way to get the information I need is to ask a seemingly silly question to the person in the know.
The responses to my questions have been mainly positive. By far the majority of people are very willing to answer in a friendly, supportive manner. They understand that my lack of knowledge is based on the simple fact I don’t know their business the way they do. They would rather I ask the seemingly silly questions with the obvious answer, than that I leave the conversation with misconceptions or misunderstandings.
There have been one or two that give back a “Wow … dumb question” attitude. Their attitude is one of superiority or condescension. They assume lack of intelligence, something very different than lack of knowledge, and move into over-explaining mode, going on and on, in minute detail or check back way too often with the question “Do you understand what I’m saying?” As a woman, I get the occasional ‘dear’ tacked on the end of that question as well.
I don’t like being treated that way. I imagine you don’t like it. Which is why it is so important to ensure our customers or potential customers are never treated that way either. We are the experts on our business and we will get asked questions that to us, seem like ‘doh’ questions. But it doesn’t matter what we think. If someone is asking us a question, it’s because they have a question. Perhaps they know the answer but hope they are wrong or that an exception will be made. (I’ve done that one .. anyone else?).
Regardless of how seemingly silly the question or obvious the answer, share the information requested in courteous, polite and genuinely friendly way. It may be the one thing that closes the sale or sends your potential customer to your competitor.