Conversations are a two way street, and it’s not that we don’t know that, but sometimes we kind of forget. One of the best ways to lose a client is to talk too much, even if you don’t mean anything by it and are just being the friendly person that you are. Often people who sell things talk too much simply because they think that may be the way to charm someone into a sale, but unfortunately, this isn’t usually true, and most sales are generated when someone is ready to buy something and a business is there to offer it. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t foster a positive relationship with people and clients via, well, listening – and asking the right questions when you are talking business.
Most of these questions are presented by Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others by Andrew Sobel which talks about how the best way to get information is just to ask the right questions.
What are you excited about next year in your business? This kind of question is useful because it presents a situation where a client gets to think ahead at all of the wonderful things they are looking forward to in the coming years. The future can hold many things, and most businesses are hopeful those things are positive.
What are your top three priorities right now (or one of them)? This can help determine what the client already has and what they may need from you, whether to improve something or add it to their business without any prior grounding. This kind of question can be paired with something like, what is the most important action that you think will make this business more successful? To get the full answer of why they prioritize what they prioritize and why they sacrifice things that could be beneficial to their businesses.
A great way to make sure you’re both on the same page is to ask what decisions do we need to make today? It will also help to revisit this question at the end of the discussion to see if what you set out to accomplish was indeed accomplished. When it’s time to elaborate on something and it’s important that you both know the details that are needed, remember to ask can you tell me more?
And one last booming question that should never, ever be forgotten is what do you think? It’s one of those questions that invites our friends, companions, and yes, business clients to tell us what they need us to know. This question is vital to create a two way discussion when there might not have otherwise been an opportunity for one.
When asking any other questions, make sure you never make the client feel stupid. Treat them like your friend – if you wouldn’t say something to your friend, don’t say it to a client. Continually attempt to progress the conversation productively with two inputs instead of one and maybe you’ll win a client that day.