Tag Archives: Questioning Strategies

Leadership Secret Weapon Series: Questioning Strategies

An effective questioning strategy is a powerful way to learn about the other person’s needs while building rapport.

 A framework to consider as you create your own questioning strategy is the Inverted Pyramid approach.

This strategy will lead you and the person to a definition of the problem.

 

  • Background Questions – encourage people to describe the current situation and give you a clearer picture of their problem or their business.

 

  • Process Questions – create a common understanding of what the person has done to resolve the problem and how the problem impacts the business.

 

  • Detail Questions – gather more specific information on the background and/or process question.

 

  • Action Questions – identify, assign and gain agreement on the next step in solving a problem.

  

All of these types of questions enable the service provider to try to determine the particular needs of the customer. Using a combination of questions manages the conversation.

 

By asking the following background question, it is amazing the information you will receive: “Can you tell me a little bit about what is happening within your organization?

 

Once the person has responded, then you can zero in with a process type of question: “How long has this been going on?” or perhaps another process question, “What has been done to rectify the situation?

 

Once you understand clearly what the problem is and what has been done to date, then you can go into details and ask specific questions like, “Have you tried the following?”  or “Has anyone tried the following approach?

 

This moves right into an action question. “I think X might work within this organization,” or “What do you think might work in this organization?

 

Using a questioning strategy of this nature creates a conversation, versus an interrogation. People love to talk! When you ask opened ended questions, you will be amazed at the information they will share with you. Questions are your “secret weapon,” and a questioning strategy will be the key to your success.

 

REMEMBER…YOU DO GET WHAT YOU ASK FOR!

 

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

Leadership Secret Weapon Series: Questions are Your Secret Weapon

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