Are You Asking Questions that Promote Results?
Attract the Right Job or Clientele:
A new collaborative effort can be tricky, particularly when issues arise. Asking sensitive questions becomes a necessity. Unaccustomed to the other person’s thinking, diplomacy is paramount.
Everything was going well on a project until a long-time friend began to question the thinking of a third party. You can guess what occurred next; the doubt and concern led to a downward spiral. Thankfully, I gave up the negativity to ask the hard questions.
I asked questions in the form of ‘When, How, and Goals’. Most people ignore the questions about goals but are necessary to fully inform those contributing to the effort. Before any project begins, I always start with the question ‘Why.’ I need to know the purpose and the intent of the outcome to have a clear cut answer of whether I wish to participate.
On any new endeavor, it’s always important to ask ‘When.’ The start date is the first step, and the next is implementation. But from a business perspective, it’s important to get the finish date too. Everything in progress needs a timeline and include all of the baby steps to be taken that will get you to goal.
Whether you work by yourself, are employed, or decide to collaborate with others, a clear cut plan has to be laid out to answer the ‘How’ question. And should you have a team of people contributing their expertise, everyone needs to be informed upfront and then updated every step of the way. The weekly or monthly scheduled meetings are to ensure everyone is well aware of what is transpiring at any given moment. The purpose of frequent meetings is to eliminate all second-guessing, potential gossip, and the possibility of people quitting the project.
Even better is for business owners to volunteer the information rather than waiting to be asked. Open communication alleviates any doubt, bad word of mouth and keeps one’s personal brand intact. The orderly progress attracts outside admiration for having built a highly admired team. In the end, the congenial but tough questions, asked by me produced the answers we needed. And we were then prepared to journey forth together.
Think back to a time when you had doubt about an employer or a project. What was the reasoning behind the doubt? Did the dire predictions prove to be true or was it just poor word of mouth in the process? It’s always best to analyze the very worst situations because there are so many good lessons to be learned. The analysis provides knowledge of what to avoid in the future.
One cautionary note though is always to be diplomatic when you ask the sensitive questions. Have you ever gotten someone angry due to an inquiry asked with sarcasm? Unfortunately, I bet most people will have a need to respond, ‘yes.’ From now on, practice asking particularly sensitive questions in the mirror with a soft tone before you go into a serious meeting. Using diplomacy will stand a better chance of finding a satisfactory solution for all concerned.
Sales TipsNever jump to conclusions. Pause to think of appropriate questions to get the answers needed. Practice smiling while asking tough questions as you face the mirror. Be comfortable with finding the right tone of voice for uncomfortable conversation. Diplomatically phrase your questions. Ask people why they believe as they do. Inquire as to expected outcomes. Always obtain a timeline for steps in the process and the completed goal. Avoid gossip but go straight to the person in charge for clarity. Celebrate Success!
Following these guidelines will lead you to the Smooth Sale!
A previous blog provides additional insight for Why Sales Are Lost and What To Do About It
Inquire about inspirational/motivational speaking for your next event and sales training.