On Monday I was walking through my basement when I spotted a paper-clipped article up against a pile of books next to my furnace. The title of the article was “Stop Talking … And Start Asking Questions.” I stopped walking … and picked the five pages up before noticing it was written in 1995. I read the entire piece and was reminded of what I (we) must already know.
There was a section in the article that listed professional purchasing agents commenting on what they thought were good … and not-so-good questions. It was here where I focused in to see what I could glean from the article and pass on to you.
I think if you use your imagination, you can benefit from these suggestions.
Worst Question: What does your company do?
Best Question: What kind of value-added are you looking for?
Worst Question: Can we do something for you?
Best Question: How can we help you improve your product or process.
Worst Question: Are you the person who is going to make the buying decision?
Best Question: If you are interested in my product, how are you intending to use it?
Worst Question: Who are you buying from now?
Best Question: What can I do to add value to your process?
Worst Question: What will it take to get your business?
Best Question: What can I do to make your job easier?
The message here is to think before you fire away what you think is a good question. Do your questions clearly show that you are not prepared and have failed to do your homework? Or, are they worded in a fashion that indicate your sincere interest in providing a meaningful service?
Here is the deal: If you find yourself talking more than 33% during any conversation, chances are you are shooting yourself in the foot. The key is to ask more pointed questions and continue to urge the prospect to keep on talking.
Never, ever begin talking until the person you are talking to comes to a complete stop. Until then, keep urging them on to continue talking. Only in this way will you get to the crux of the problem, issue or concern.
Once you accomplish this “skill,” you will rise to the top of your field.
My name is Mike Marchev … and I am very interested in learning how I may be in position to help you.