If you want to truly engage a prospect or client, instead of talking, it is actually more critical to listen. The key with engagement is interaction. Most (and I really mean most) people are focused on themselves and are more than ready to talk about themselves and their products. But how do you get the other person to begin talking?
Great questions lead to great interaction and will allow you to be in control of the conversation while gaining all the benefits of listening and learning about the other person. But sometimes the questions we ask just don’t work.
Asking Questions Effectively
If you ask the wrong questions, you’ll probably get the wrong answer, or at least not quite what you were hoping for. By using the right questions in a particular situation, you can improve a whole range of communications skills. You can gather better information and learn more, build stronger relationships, manage people more effectively, help others to learn; and most importantly, create lasting connections.
The key is to take a typical question you ask, but ask it with a few extra words. When adding certain words, you create what we call a Big Question. A Big Question is one that requires an answer, opens up conversation, and allow you to create the connection that happens when you listen.
Questions that are asked of a prospect, like “How is Your Health?” typically results in a bit of a lie. “Good, fine” the prospect says, because he or she is not sure they want to do business with you yet much less engage by divulging this information. But, if they began talking about things that are important to them, and in the case of health that we really need to know in order to put together a financial strategy, the results are positive. On average a person will give you 5 answers to one question – as opposed to zero answers. While they are talking you are connecting, developing a relationship, and learning.
Big Questions use Absolute words including: One, Biggest, Favorite, Best, Worst, Only, etc.
Examples of Big Questions to Ask:
“What is your biggest health concern?” (Instead of “How’s your health?”)
“I know your business has received a lot of awards – what was the most meaningful one to you?”
“What’s your biggest challenge?”
Or, if you’re in a competitive situation ask, “What is the one thing you wished your current advisor would do?” This will usually give you everything you need to know.
The key is to ask a question that requires an answer so you can listen in to something important to THEM.