Over time, I think most of us lose our willingness to dig deeper with questions. We all get a little of that wonder and need-to-know knocked out of us by all of life’s ups and downs. As I navigate my way forward at work and at life in general, I am learning that sincere and well placed questions open doors.
In sales, a smart question proves your value and often identifies needs you didn’t know existed. How many of us have met with the annoying salesperson, who showed no interest in us, and spewed the greatness of their product or service for the entire meeting? In contrast, how refreshing is it to meet with someone, who has done their homework and not only asks questions, but has an understanding of the challenges you face each day. A salesperson can become a friend and a resource, if they ask the questions that help you see things in a different light. How rare is it to find a salesperson like this?
In managing and leading a team, questions are paramount as well. The questions we ask direct attention to what we think is important. Many companies stress service and truly serving customers in their meetings and communications to team members. Do the questions that we ask every day match up with our purported goal of serving? Are we asking “Were you able to help Bob at XYZ Company out yesterday? How is his wife?” Or, are our questions directed inwardly at our benefit? “Were you able to finally get Bob to shell out some cash for that new widget?”
WHY ARE QUESTIONS SO POWERFUL?
Get a person talking about their concerns, their needs, and their challenges
Turn the focus away from yourself to the needs and opinions of others
Direct attention to something that is under the surface, what is really important
Help a person to reach a conclusion on their own, and produce commitment
Place value on the people you are talking to rather than yourself.
Questions whether good or bad make people think. I encourage you to consider the tremendous power of the great question. Take the time to direct your questions and encourage people to think. What is your power question? How have questions opened doors for you?