We have learned to speak, to tell, to present, to accept, to manage...but we have never learned to listen.
- The more you listen, the better you become. But listening has to be active: it’s not only about not interrupting. It is about active listening by knowing how to ask the right questions.
- In sales, the better you ask questions, the better you uncover client’s preferences and real purchasing intentions. For example, instead of hammering your customers with all the features and benefits of your products and services, the key is to prepare some golden questions to really understand what is going in their mind and then present your offering as a solution to their problem.
- In recruitment, you can save a lot of your time by knowing what to ask your candidates. Instead of telling them to brief themselves, their background and their experience, you can simply prepare some key questions which will help you discover their real intent of joining your company and figure out which role they can play best.
- In customer service, it will be much smarter to ask customers smart questions to understand their frustration instead of explaining to them why things happened and how sorry you are. After all, when you dig deeper to know what is really bothering them, they sometimes appreciate your effort and reduce their tension towards you or your brand.
- In management, it is wiser to stop bossing your staff to show control and start asking the right questions to clarify what went wrong and how can you fix it.
- No matter what is your role or position, asking the right questions solves most of the communication problems and keeps you in control of the situation. This skill needs a lot of practice but you can simply start by asking the very basic questions: What, When, Where, Who, Why, How, …
- A simple application in times of conflict: What happened? When did it happen? Where exactly? Who was there or who caused this? Why did this happen in your opinion? How can you solve it? And then you can do round two: What will you do to solve it? When will you do that? Where will you do the implementation? Who will help you? Why did you choose this method? How will you make sure it never happens again…Then you can switch randomly the questions: what are the possible obstacles? How will you overcome them? Etc…
- Another application in sales: what are you looking for? When would you like it to be delivered? Where is the delivery location? Who is part of the decision-making process? Why are you looking for this type of product or service? How can we make it perfect for you?
- The exercise is endless but some tips are to always document the answers for future reference and in case of conflict you can ask the same questions to different people and then you will automatically get a picture of the clear situation.
What will you do right now to improve your questioning skills?
Jade W. Dagher
Business & Wealth Strategist
Certified Management Consultant ©