Friday, 1 June 2012

Questioning


The most important part of the discovery/ uncovery process is questioning. The right questions get you the right answers, the answer you need to build the perfect pitch for the client.
So here are some tips on asking the right questions

·     Before you start make sure you’re ready to listen, no point asking questions if you not going to pay attention the answers.

·     Be very clear on what your objectives are – questioning should identify and establish the strongest needs/ challenges and objectives of the client.

·     There are two main sorts of questions: open and closed questions 
open questions gather information and build rapport; closed questions filter, qualify and seek commitment. (Most articles focus on the importance of open question, so I will spend a little more time on closed in this post).

Open and Closed Questions

o   Open Questions 
§ Typically Open questions begin with Who? What? Why? Where? When? and How?

e.g “what are your core objectives this year”

o   Closed Questions 
§  Used correctly closed questions are very effective, closed questions are used to qualify and confirm your interpretation, and can be answered with a yes or no.

eg."So your key objective is to drive footfall?” or
“So if I can add $XX in value are you happy with everything else in the proposal?” 

§  Closed questions can also help you regain control of the meeting if at any point it starts losing focus, or stagnates. They are also useful to get an agreement or buy in on each section of the meeting before moving on; 

e.g. “I can see we have some further concerns here. Can we agree to move forward with the rest of the proposal and then review this particular point in greater detail once we have the whole picture?”

§  Closed question are also very useful during closing as they can be used to move the buyer through their decision making process and help cement in their mind that you have meet their needs. 

e.g. “So as discussed you agree that the proposal meets your XXX
 needs.”

So next time you are on your way to a discovery meeting, give yourself some time to plan your questioning, and make the best of your time with the client.

If you have favourite question I would love to hear them. 


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