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Ask Better Quality Questions to Get Better Quality Answers

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Imagine you are in sales…everyone is in sales at some point or another.

No wait, have you ever phoned a friend and asked if they wanted to go for a drink?

Does this sound familiar?

“Yea sure, where do you suggest?”

“Don’t mind, what do you fancy?”

“Not sure, let me think about it and come back to you.

What time are you thinking?”

And so, the conversation goes on.

This is fine if you have a regular local you both enjoy but frustrating if you want to ring some changes.

It also sounds like hard work deciding!

How could you have done this differently?

Firstly, put some thought into the question.

What’s the desired outcome – just a drink, to try somewhere new, to have a quiet conversation?

What do you already know about your friend and the event, that you can apply?

How much time have you got?

Secondly, plan it.

This could bring us back to sales, but let’s stick with the drink idea for a bit longer.

You want to catch up with your friend, you’ve got some news to share and you want to try that new pub on the other side of town.

You’ve got a lot on today and need to organise your day, so you need to get on with it.

Now is a good time to call.

“Hey, do you want to meet up for a drink, I have some news about last week’s meeting with Trevor?

I know you like real ale and the last pint at the Bull was a bit ropey so do you want to meet at that new place The Frog and Bucket?

I’ve heard their beer is good plus they’ve got those spicy crisps you like?

I am finishing a bit early today so could do 5.30.

See you there?’

Could work?

No promises but stands a better chance than the first lame attempt.

Now back to sales…..

Apply the same principles, put some thought into it and plan it through from beginning to end.

Never make a sales call on the “fly”.

If it’s important treat it so.

Instead of phoning me and asking if I am still interested in test driving that new Lexus, call me and say, “the sun is shining, I am passing your office later this morning, do you fancy a spin in that new IS Lexus if I pick you up?”

Now all I am thinking about is when not if.

Boring questions get boring answers because we are so good at automating our responses to save time and brain power.

A thought-provoking question is unusual and requires some energy from me.

So, dress a question up with genuine interest or even some intrigue and I am more likely to come out to play.

Have you ever had to ask for an invoice to be paid, or for some borrowed money back from a friend?

These kinds of situations are perhaps more delicate.

You may not only be looking to get your money but in doing so look to maintain the relationship in the right way.

So, care in phrasing the question and the timing of it could be critical to the outcome.

Although credit control is regarded as a process, it can be enhanced by careful application of skill and consideration.

If you are struggling with a situation and looking for the right phrasing, then drop me an email and I will be delighted to look at it and help out with some suggestions.

Many major breakthroughs have happened as a result of people asking deeper, more searching questions and being unreasonable and not settling for the `run of the mill`.

This kind of approach to an everyday routine exercise like asking questions will definitely lead to you gaining recognition.

I dread to think how many questions we have asked in our lives to date, but many were rubbish!

Do you remember the vultures in The Jungle Book?

Remember the question they asked each other?

“What do you want to do?”

You know the response too, “I dunno, what you want to do?”

And so, it goes on….

Challenge yourself not to be a vulture when it comes to questions.

Put the effort in before you open your mouth and stand back and be amazed at responses you get.

If nothing comes back that matches the quality of your enquiry, then you may be talking to the wrong person!

A better-quality question will lead to a better-quality answer which will lead to a better-quality conversation and perhaps a more meaningful relationship and outcome.

Believing that this practice is worth the while will lead you to far more recognition.

Paul F. Warriner

Paul F. Warriner

Consultant | Coach | Trainer


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