In sales, consulting, and management, questions are without question, your secret weapon. Sometimes people say they ask a lot of questions. At the same time, when I ask them, “Do you have a questioning strategy?” they look at me very strangely. A questioning strategy is the key to establishing rapport, and identifies the other person’s particular values, beliefs and professional needs.
The nature of most service businesses is to identify and solve a customer’s problem. This is where a questioning strategy truly comes into play. Many individuals tend to ask close ended questions with ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or a short answer.
None of us are smart enough to ask all of the close ended questions we need in order to have a full picture of a situation or a particular customer’s needs.
I therefore encourage individuals to use primarily open ended questions and high impact questions, versus closed ended questions.
Open ended questions are used to gather information. They usually start with “what,” “how,” or “tell me about.” For example, “What happened?” or “How are things going for you?”
High impact questions on the other hand are getting the customer’s commitment. They usually start with “What affect does this have on your business,” “How does that cause your organization to react to customer needs?” or “What does that result in for you in revenues, return to the bottom line, customer satisfaction, etc?”
The key to high impact questions is what is the impact they have on the operation, and the business?
You can use the following 3 Step Process for developing High Impact questions:
1) Identify the problem
2) Identify the business implications of the problem
3) Turn each implication into an implication question
By getting people committed with high impact questions, they will take action!
Dianne Durkin is president and founder of Loyalty Factor, a specialized consulting and training company that enhances employee, customer and brand loyalty for some of the nation’s most prominent corporations and many smaller businesses. Dianne’s proven expertise lies in helping companies quickly get to the core issues and outlining their impact on the organization’s profits, productivity and people. www.loyaltyfactor.com